Housing finance commitments data for May 2013 was released by the ABS last week which provides a further indication that the housing market is continuing to gather strength.
The number of owner occupier finance commitments (excluding refinances) increased by 2.5% over the month compared to a 0.4% increase in refinance commitments.
Year on year, the number of owner occupier finance commitments (excluding refinances) is up 15.1% compared to a 1.6% increase in refinance commitments.
The total value of finance commitments for investment purposes was 1.5% higher in May and is up 23.7% compared to May 2012.
In comparison, the value of owner occupier finance commitments (excluding refinances) is up 3.1% in May and 14.8% year-on-year compared to a 0.2% monthly increase in refinance commitments and a 3.2% year on year increase).
[sam id=31 codes=’true’]The data indicates that much of the housing market activity is currently being driven by investors.
First home buyers continue to play just a small part of the current market with 8,146 housing commitments in May 2013, accounting for just 14.6% of all owner occupier finance commitments.
Year on year the number of first home buyer finance commitments is down -10.6%. The proportion of owner occupier finance commitments that are to first home buyers is lower than a year ago in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory however, the overall fall is being driven by a significant drop in New South Wales and Queensland.
The Reserve Bank (RBA) released credit and debit card statistics for May 2013 last week. The data shows that Australians are continuing to drill down on their debt and remain averse to taking on further credit.
Looking at the year on year figures are probably the most interesting aspect, in particular when you calculate the average outstanding loan balance it is -3.5% lower over the year, the greatest year on year fall on record.
The average credit limit is -1.0% lower over the year which is a near record fall while growth in the number of accounts (2.1%) and transactions (6.9%) are each low on an historic basis.
On the other hand, debit card accounts have increased by 6.2% over the year, which is high on an historic basis, and total transactions are up by 13.9%.
National Auction Clearance Rates
The weighted average auction clearance rate over the past week was recorded at 67.7%, up from 65.1% the previous week and the highest combined capital city clearance rate in six weeks.
The major auction markets of Melbourne and Sydney continued to record a strong rate of successful auctions. Melbourne’s clearance rate over the week was 67.9% across 426 auctions, up from 65.8% over the previous week across 453 auctions.
In Sydney, auction clearance rates were recorded at 77.4% last week across 378 auctions, which was the highest clearance rate since the last week of January in 2010 (83.3%). RP Data is currently anticipating 1,101 capital city auctions over the current week.
Advertised Stock on the Market
The number of listings increased slightly last week across the Australian housing market. Nationally, total listings are -9.0% lower than at the same time last year with 247,996 properties currently advertised for sale.
Across the capital cities there are 106,558 properties listed for sale which is -16.4% lower than at the same time last year.
The number of newly advertised properties is quite low due to seasonal factors however, they are higher than at the same time last year at both a national and capital city level.
Nationally there were 7.9% more new listings with a total of 42,252 listings. Across the combined capital cities, listings were 4.5% higher than at the same time a year ago.