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Stable lending underpins housing demand

15 Apr 14

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

The figures for February 2014 show, in trend terms, that the number of owner-occupied finance commitments increased by 0.2 per cent, following increases of 0.1 per cent in January and 0.2 per cent in December 2013.

If refinancing is excluded, in trend terms for January, the number of owner-occupied finance commitments increased by 0.4 per cent.

REIA President, Peter Bushby says, “Increases were recorded in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory with NT having the biggest rise, up 1.2 per cent. South Australia’s fall of 0.6 per cent was the country’s largest.”

“In trend terms, the number of commitments for the construction of new dwellings climbed 1.8 per cent,” Mr Bushby continued. “However the purchase of new dwellings fell by 1.2 per cent and the purchase of established dwellings increased by 0.1 per cent.”

The value of investment housing commitments again increased but by a more moderate rate of 1.1 per cent in February following three years of consecutive monthly increases.

“Disturbingly, the proportion of first home buyers in the number of owner-occupied housing finance commitments again decreased to 12.5 per cent compared to the low point of 12.3 per cent in November 2013 and 13.2 per cent in January 2014. This is far lower than the long-run average proportion of 19.9 per cent, despite eight interest rate cuts since November 2011.”

“February 2014 results highlight the plight of first home buyers and the need for all Governments to work together on a national response to address housing affordability for this marginalised group,” concluded Mr Bushby.