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Housing finance & budget predictions show low interest rates

13 May 14

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) says the latest housing finance figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reflect a stabilising market.

The figures for March 2014 show, in trend terms, that the number of owner-occupied finance commitments decreased by 0.1 per cent, following increases of 0.1 per cent in both February and January and this is the first fall since May 2012.

If refinancing is excluded, in trend terms for March, the number of owner-occupied finance commitments fell by 0.2 per cent – again the first drop since May 2012.

REIA President, Peter Bushby says, “Increases were recorded in Queensland, Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory with ACT having the biggest rise, up 1.2 per cent. South Australia’s fall of 0.5 per cent was the country’s largest.”

“In trend terms, the number of commitments for the construction of new dwellings climbed 1.7 per cent,” Mr Bushby continued. “However the purchase of new dwellings fell by 1.4 per cent and the purchase of established dwellings decreased by 0.3 per cent.”

The value of investment housing commitments again increased but by a more moderate rate of 0.4 per cent in March, following three years of consecutive monthly increases.

“The proportion of first home buyers in the number of owner-occupied housing finance commitments increased marginally to 12.6 per cent compared to 12.5 per cent in February and the low point of 12.3 per cent in November 2013. This is still dramatically lower than the long-run average proportion of 19.9 per cent and continues to be of concern.”

“The March 2014 lending figures indicate a stabilising market, which together with a Budget tonight which is expected to cut Government spending, signal a period in which interest rates should stay low,” concluded Mr Bushby.