The latest housing finance figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reflect a stabilising market, according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).
The figures for May 2014 show, in trend terms, that the number of owner-occupied finance commitments increased by 0.1 per cent, following monthly increases of 0.1 per cent for the first four months of 2014.
If refinancing is excluded, in trend terms for May, the number of owner-occupied finance commitments fell by 0.3 per cent – the fourth consecutive drop this year.
REIA president Peter Bushby said increases were recorded in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory, which had the biggest rise of 1.5 per cent.
“Falls were recorded in Victoria, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania, with the ACT having the biggest fall of 0.5 per cent,” he said.
“In trend terms, the number of commitments for the construction of new dwellings climbed 0.5 per cent and the purchase of established dwellings increased by 0.1 per cent.
“However, the purchase of new dwellings fell by 0.2 per cent,” he added.
The value of investment housing commitments again increased but by a more moderate rate of 0.3 per cent in May, following over three years of consecutive monthly increases.
“The proportion of first home buyers in the number of owner-occupied housing finance commitments increased to 12.6 per cent compared to 12.3 per cent in April, which was level with the historical low point of November 2013,” Mr Bushby said.
“The May 2014 lending figures indicate a stabilising market, and signal a period in which interest rates should remain at their current levels,” he added.