Demand for home loans is at its highest level in four years but consumers appear to be shying away from other forms of debt, faced with the spectre of rising unemployment.
Data from credit information provider Veda found that mortgage inquiries surged 15.3 per cent over 2013 compared with a year earlier although overall credit demand increased by just 0.4 per cent.
Veda's general manager of consumer risk, Angus Luffman, says an extended period of low interest rates is supporting a lift in mortgage inquiries, showing the strongest growth since late 2009.
"It is likely that we will see a continuing increase in the near term, along with sustained house price growth," Mr Luffman said on Tuesday.
In contrast, inquiries for credit cards rose just 2.4 per cent last year, while demand for personal loans fell 1.4 per cent.
Mr Luffman said the December quarter was usually a strong period for credit demand, reflecting increased spending for Christmas.
"The relatively weak outcome in loans and credit cards suggests low interest rates are not leading to a significant lift in consumer borrowing as households remain cautious about rising unemployment," he said.
It is also a reflection of a slowdown in car sales, which barely grew in 2013.
Mr Luffman believes slow credit demand suggests retailers face continuing challenges for big ticket sales.