New housing data points to a stabilising market and makes the case for lower interest rates, according to a peak real estate body.
The value of finance commitments for all dwellings was $27.3 billion in March 2014, according to figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
This marked a 19 per cent increase on March 2013 and a 1.1 per cent decline on February 2014.
The owner-occupied share of finance commitments was $16.6 billion, which was 11.8 per cent higher than the year before but 1.2 per cent down on the previous month.
Investors’ share of finance commitments reached $10.7 billion, which marked a 32.1 per cent annual increase and a 0.8 per cent monthly decrease.
There were 52,013 commitments for owner-occupied housing, which marked an 8.2 per cent annual rise and a 0.9 per monthly decline.
This included 43,062 commitments for the purchase of established dwellings – an 8.6 per cent annual rise and 1.5 per cent monthly decline.
It also included 6,265 commitments for the construction of new dwellings – a 17.5 per cent annual rise and 2.1 per cent monthly decline.
There were 2,686 commitments for the purchase of new dwellings – up 12.6 per cent annually and up 1.6 per cent monthly.
According to the Real Estate Institute of Australia, the combination of these housing figures and spending cuts in last night’s federal Budget “signal a period in which interest rates should stay low”.