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New home lending remains steady

15 Jan 14

Last year was an extended period of ups and downs for the Australian property market - a fact that has been echoed through latest home lending approvals data.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed that in November 2013, the number of commitments for owner occupied housing finance increased 0.6 per cent compared to the previous month.

Meanwhile, the number of loans approved for the construction of dwellings increased 1.1 per cent, as those for the purchase of established properties increased 0.7 per cent.

Responding to the data, the Housing Industry Association's senior economist Shane Garrett noted that it paints a positive picture for the property market as a whole.

He said the figures are not only good news for the industry but also the Australian economy as a whole - construction activity brings potential for jobs growth at a time when it is needed most.

Anyone who has undergone real estate training will be interested to hear that first home buyers are still keen to enter the market, although they did experience a slight fall between October and November.

ABS figures show 12.3 per cent of total buyers were making steps onto the property ladder for the first time in November last year, down slightly from 12.6 per cent in October.

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) believes more needs to be done to encourage first-time buyers to enter the market, especially in particular parts of the country.

REIA president Peter Bushby said levels of activity among this group are currently at their lowest since data collection started in 1991 - and below the long-term average of 19.9 per cent.

"With the number of first home buyers at historically low levels, it's time for all governments to review support to first home buyers," he commented.