Boomtime losing its edge

Recent figures from the Real Estate Institute of Australia show four consecutive months of owner-occupier finance commitments slipping despite the perception of a housing boom in Melbourne and Sydney.

The REIA said the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures for September 2014 show, in trend terms, that the number of owner-occupied finance commitments fell by 0.2 per cent.

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

REIA president Peter Bushby said decreases were recorded in South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria.

“The Northern Territory saw the biggest rise, at 3.2 per cent,” he said.

“The largest fall was recorded in South Australia – down 0.4 per cent.”

Mr Bushby said the September 2014 lending figures indicated a moderating market, with September being the eighth consecutive month of modest drops in lending levels if refinancing is excluded.

“The REIA believes there is no need for the introduction of macro-prudential tools – to do so may give rise to unintended consequences,” he added.

Mr Bushby said in trend terms, the number of new dwellings purchase commitments increased by 1.7 per cent, while new dwelling construction decreased 0.2 per cent and the purchase of established dwellings decreased by 0.3 per cent.

“The value of investment housing commitments again increased but by 1.7 per cent,” he said.

“The proportion of first home buyers as part of the total owner-occupied housing finance commitments increased marginally to 12 per cent compared to the record lowest 11.8 per cent in August. However, the ABS advises caution in using this data due to reporting difficulties.”

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