Life In Oz Housing As Loan Approvals Beat Expectations
There seems to be a bit more life in the home building sector than previously though.
In fact February’s building approvals last week were a bit better than expected, especially for private houses and yesterday home loan approvals for the same month were also a bit stronger than forecast.
And retail sales for February were also a bit better than expected and certainly stronger than in the December-January period.
While the number of home loan approvals for owner-occupiers fell slightly in February but were better than expected according to the housing finance data for February from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Housing finance approvals fell 0.2% seasonally adjusted in February to 54,427, beating market forecasts for a drop of 0.4%.
The value of total housing finance was up 1% at $33.5 billion for the month, in seasonally adjusted terms.
The value of new home loan approvals for owner-occupiers rose 1.3%, and the value of investor loans was up 0.5%.
The ABS said that in trend terms (which is more accurate because it irons out month to month bumps) the number of commitments for owner occupied housing finance fell 0.6% in February, while the number of commitments for the purchase of new dwellings fell 1.0%, the number of commitments for the purchase of established dwellings fell 0.6% and the number of commitments for the construction of dwellings fell 0.1%.
Westpac analyst Matthew Hassan said the value of investor loans is still down six per cent on a year ago, and owner occupier activity is up only slightly.
“Overall, the steady picture around finance approvals, the recent stabilisation in auction clearance rates, and somewhat improved buyer sentiment suggests markets are stabilising after the slowdown in 2017," Mr Hassan said in a research note yesterday.
Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.
At the AFR he was a finance writer, Finance Editor, News Editor and Chief of Staff. At the Nine Network he was supervising producer of Business Sunday for more than 16 years. He has also written for other online and analogue print publications here and overseas.