July housing finance approvals beat forecasts
FINANCE approvals posted a slightly better than expected 2.4 per cent gain in July versus the consensus forecast of a 2 per cent rise. Westpac’s Matthew Hassan said the bank’s forecast of a +1.5 per cent gain was based on an expected drag from Victoria where changes in assistance for first home buyers (FHBs) came into effect in July. That never materialised with approvals up a solid 3.3 per cent in Victoria and only a slight decline in FHB activity in the state. The detail was broadly positive save for continued subdued FHB activity and a more mixed month for ‘‘ construction- related’’ approvals. Owner-occupier finance approvals exrefi continue to chart a slightly stronger upswing with a 2.7 per cent rise in July taking annual growth to 17 per cent year on year. Finance for the construction of dwellings declined 2.1 per cent for the month with annual growth fairly flat at 1.1 per cent per.