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New home building eases back in April

By Tim Neary
10 June 2019 | 9 minute read
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The number of loans to households building new homes continued to fall in April, driven by a number of factors, according to the HIA.

The HIA’s senior economist, Geordan Murray, said most notably these were around breaks in continuity and confidence.

“A number of factors are likely to have weighed on the market activity during the month, notably the succession of holidays around Easter and Anzac Day along with a higher degree of uncertainty as the federal election approached,” he said.

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“Home lending figures released by the ABS today show the number of loans to owner-occupiers financing the construction of a new home fell by 5.2 per cent in the month.”

He said a trend is evident.

“Softer lending in the segment is consistent with the drop in new detached house sales in the major east-coast markets over recent months.

“The number of loans to owner-occupiers purchasing new homes that have already been built posted a modest lift in the month. This lift is likely to reflect settlement of multi-unit dwellings purchased off the plan as these projects reach completion.”

Mr Murray said today’s figures also show further contraction in value of lending for home renovations and to investors.

“Overall, April was another soft month for home lending, and with pre-election uncertainty reaching a peak in May, we are unlikely to see an improvement next month.

“There has been a marked improvement in housing market sentiment in the weeks following the federal election. When combined with the RBA’s rate cut and the prospect that APRA may allow lenders a greater degree of flexibility in assessing loan serviceability, there is cause to be optimistic that lending activity could improve as the year progresses.”

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