New figures show that the number of housing loans has continued to decline over the last six months.
President Malcolm Gunning of the Real Estate Institute of Australia said that the new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed six consecutive months of declines.
“Overall, the figures for March 2018 show, in trend terms, that the number of owner-occupied finance commitments decreased by 0.7 per cent, the sixth consecutive month of decreases,” Mr Gunning said.
Mr Gunning said that if refinancing was excluded, the percentage decrease was even worse.
“If refinancing is excluded, the number of owner-occupied finance commitments decreased by 0.9 per cent, again the sixth consecutive month of decreases,” the REIA president said.
Mr Gunning said that all states, bar Tasmania, had recorded a decrease, with the largest being in the Northern Territory.
“In trend terms, decreases were recorded in all states and territories except Tasmania, where lending increased by 7.2 per cent. The largest decrease of 1.3 per cent was in the Northern Territory,” Mr Gunning said.
The purchase of dwellings by individuals for rent or resale is at the lowest level since May 2016.
“In trend terms, the number of established dwellings purchase commitments decreased by 0.7 per cent, while the purchase of new dwellings decreased by 0.8 per cent and new dwelling construction fell by 1.2 per cent,” the president said.
In positive housing news, the number of loans for first home buyers had increased in the past few months.
“The number of loans to first home buyers increased by 5.8 per cent compared to February. The only bright spot in the market is first home buyers,” Mr Gunning said.