Moderating lending activity may point to a rate cut

January 12th,2015

The latest housing finance figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reflect moderating activity in the housing market.

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) says the figures for November 2014 show, in trend terms, that the number of owner-occupied finance commitments was unchanged. This is the second consecutive month of no change. If refinancing is excluded, in trend terms for November, the number of owner-occupied finance commitments fell by 0.4 per cent.

REIA President, Neville Sanders says, “Decreases were recorded in all states and territories except for Victoria and the ACT. Tasmania had the biggest fall of 1.3 per cent. The largest increase was recorded in the ACT – up 1.2 per cent.”

“In trend terms, the number of new dwellings purchase commitments decreased by 0.5 per cent while new dwelling construction increased by 0.2 per cent and the purchase of established remained unchanged. The value of investment housing commitments again increased but by a more modest 0.9  per cent.”

“The proportion of first home buyers, as part of the total owner-occupied housing finance commitments, increased marginally to 11.6 per cent compared to the record low 11.4 per cent in October - however the ABS advises caution in using this data due to reporting difficulties.”

 “The November 2014 lending figures indicate a moderating market with November being the tenth consecutive month of modest drops in lending levels if refinancing is excluded.”

“With moderating housing lending and GDP growth below trend, inflation well within the RBA’s target zone, the RBA Board should be considering a cut in interest rates at its February meeting,” concluded Mr Sanders.

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