There is a growing trend of increasing housing finance commitments, according to the latest housing finance figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The total number of owner-occupied housing commitments, in trend terms, rose 1.4 per cent in April this year. Excluding refinancing, the increase was 1.6 per cent and was the fifth consecutive rise since December last year.
There were increases in the number of owner-occupied dwellings in all the states and territories, except the Northern Territory, which fell by 2.7 per cent. The biggest rise was in New South Wales, which recorded an increase of 2.1 per cent.
The latest figures showed increases in the purchase of new dwellings (up 3.5 per cent in trend terms), purchases of established dwellings (up 1.2 per cent in trend terms) and the construction of new dwellings (up 1.5 per cent in trend terms).
However, first home buyer activity showed little improvement with the proportion of first home buyer commitments rising to 14.3 per cent in April 2013 from 14.2 per cent in March 2013.
The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) president, Peter Bushby said the proportion of first home buyers remained persistently low compared to the long-run average proportion of 20.1 per cent.
“It’s a concern that first home buyers are going against the trend and in large part, this drop can be attributed to some state governments withdrawing previous levels of support for first home owners buying existing dwellings,” he said.
The value of investment housing commitments rose by 1.2 per cent in trend terms in April, resulting in the eleventh consecutive monthly increase.
“It’s encouraging to see buyers responding to interest rate cuts and the stronger outlook for housing,” Mr Bushby said.