Housing finance improves
Australian Bureau of Statistics housing finance figures for October show in trend terms that, following half a year of consecutive decreases, the number of finance commitments increased marginally for the sixth consecutive month. The October increase was 0.7 per cent. ‘‘In trend terms, increases were recorded in all states and territories except Victoria, the ACT and Tasmania,’’ Real Estate Institute of Australia president Pamela Bennett said. ‘‘NSW recorded the largest increase, up 1.5 per cent. ‘‘Increases were evident for the purchase of established dwellings (up 0.9 per cent in trend terms) and the purchase of new dwellings (up 0.4 per cent in trend terms), while the number of commitments for the construction of dwellings fell by 0.5 per cent in trend terms. ‘‘The upturn in lending commitments reflects stability in interest rates and the housing market as well as increased competition among lenders.’’ The number of first-home buyers, as a percentage of total owner occupied housing commitments, increased to 17.9 per cent in October, compared to 16.4 per cent in September. Contributing to the overall increase in first-home buyers were increases of 23 per cent in Victoria and 17 per cent in NSW. The value of investment housing commitments was flat (in trend terms) in October after three months of increases, following 14 consecutive months of falls.