For the last seven months in a row Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS) data has shown a gradual increase in the number of finance commitments.
ABS housing finance figures for November 2011 show another modest increase, with an on-month trend estimated rise of 0.6 per cent for owner occipied housing at $46.676 billion. When seasonally adjusted, the increase was 1.4 per cent.
“In trend terms, increases were recorded in all states and territories except Victoria and Tasmania. Once again, New South Wales recorded the largest increase, up 1.9 per cent [compared to October],” said Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) president Ms Pamela Bennett.
“Increases were evident for the purchase of established dwellings (up 1.2 per cent) and the purchase of new dwellings (up 0.5 per cent) whilst the number of commitments for the construction of dwellings fell by 0.9 per cent [when all compared to October],” she continued.
Ms Bennett attributed the upturn in lending commitments to the November interest rate cut, stability in the housing market and increased competition among lenders.
The number of first home buyers, as a percentage of total owner occupied housing commitments increased to 20.0 per cent in November compared to 19.1 per cent in October. This proportion is now approaching the long-run average of 20.1 per cent but is still down from the 28.5 per cent level of April 2009.
The value of investment housing commitments fell by 0.5 per cent in November after four months of either modest increases or no change, following fourteen consecutive months of falls.
“The latest figures show that first home buyers are gradually returning to the market and we should expect modest increases to continue in the wake of the December interest rate cut,” concluded Ms Bennett”.