New home lending was patchy at the end of last year, new figures have revealed.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), lending for the construction and purchase of new homes by owner occupiers increased by 1.4 per cent over the month of December 2012, while overall lending eased by 0.5 per cent.
“The headline result for December 2012 was just in the positive for new home building. Underneath this, the picture is still very patchy, although some geographical areas are posting more encouraging results,” HIA economist Diwa Hopkins said.
Looking at the December 2012 quarter, the number of loans was up for new dwellings, down for construction, and effectively flat for existing dwellings. Across the states, lending for the construction and purchase of new homes was up in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, though down in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
“Overall, 2012 can be characterised as a year where new home lending just managed to climb out of the lows reached in 2011, with lending for construction and purchase of new homes rising by 8.5 per cent. Furthermore, it’s encouraging to see that NSW, Queensland and WA finished off 2012 with positive results as these states will be crucial to an aggregate recovery in new home building,” Ms Hopkins said.
“New home lending is among a suite of leading indicators which have yet to clearly signal a broad and sustainable new home building recovery of the scale commensurate with what Australia’s economy and population requires.”