For the first time this year both the value and the number of housing commitments fell in August, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The purchase of established dwellings was the biggest disappointment in August, with seasonally adjusted results showing a drop of 4.6 per cent in the number of commitments from the month before.
The number of new dwellings purchased didn’t fare much better, dropping by four per cent.
The value of owner-occupied housing commitments dropped by 1.9 per cent, or $291 million.
The Housing Industry Association (HIA) said that the results show that the housing recovery has taken its first stumble.
“During August 2013, the number of loans advanced for the purchase and construction of new homes declined to 8,347 on a seasonally adjusted basis,” said HIA senior economist Shane Garrett.
“This represents a slight decline on the previous month’s result and is a timely warning against complacency towards Australia’s housing market.
“The patchiness we are continuing to see in areas of the home loans market means that another interest rate cut from the RBA before the end of 2013 is important in order to ensure that the market recovery fires on all cylinders.
“Current policy settings have proven to be insufficient to drive a sustained recovery in new home lending and a renewed focus on housing policy reforms is needed to copper fasten the recovery,” concluded Mr Garrett.