The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released October 2013 housing finance data earlier this week. Based on the number of owner occupier finance commitments, there were 17,061 refinance commitments in October and 35,244 non-refinance commitments.
Non-refinance commitments were at their highest level over the month since November 2009 (37,839).
Refinance commitments fell by -1.0% over the month however, they are 13.6Z% higher year-on-year. Non-refinance commitments increased by 2.0% over the month and are now 13.2% higher year-on-year.
There was a total of $26.5 billion in housing finance commitments in October, $4.6 billion (17.3%) of which was for refinances by owner occupiers, $11.6 billion (43.8%) was for owner occupier non-refinances and $10.3 billion (38.9%) was for investment purposes. [sam id=36 codes=’true’]
At 38.9% of all commitments in October, the proportion of investment finance commitments was at its highest level since December 2003 (39.3%) and not far off its record high of 41.2% in October 2013.
The total value of owner occupier refinance commitments is 18.1% higher year-on-year, owner occupier non-refinance commitments are 16.8% higher year-on-year and investment finance commitments are 28.8% higher year-on-year.
Despite the highest level of demand from owner occupiers and investors in a long-time, first home buyers continue to play little role in the current market. Housing finance data showed that there were just 6,978 housing finance commitments to first home buyers in October which accounted for just 12.6% of all owner occupier finance commitments.
The number of first home buyer finance commitments is -24.3% lower year-on-year and as a proportion they are only slightly higher than their record low of 12.5% last month.
Westpac and the Melbourne Institute released their consumer sentiment survey results for December this week. The Consumer Sentiment Index was recorded at 105.0 points, down from 110.3 points in November and its lowest reading since July of this year.
Each component of the index fell over the month except for family finances over the next 12 months. Despite the monthly fall, consumer sentiment has averaged 107.0 points over the past six months, it’s highest reading since April 2011. The release also included quarterly data on wisest place for savings.
Over the quarter, 34.7% of respondents felt a bank, building society or credit union was wisest followed by: 26.6% for real estate, 11.6% for shares and 11.3% for pay down debt. Interestingly it was the lowest reading for pay down debt since June 2007.
National Auction Clearance Rates
The number of auctions across the combined capital cities fell slightly from a record high of 3,472 auctions the previous week to 3,213 auctions last week. The combined capital city auction clearance rate fell over the week from 66.9% the previous week to 64.5% last week, the lowest clearance rate in 20 weeks.
In Melbourne, there were 1,535 auctions last week, down from 1,598 over the previous week. Melbourne’s clearance rate fell from 67.9% the previous week to 63.3% last week, its lowest auction clearance rate in 36 weeks.
Auction volumes across Sydney also fell over the week from 1,402 the previous week to 1,139 last week. Auction clearance rates increased over the week from 72.7% the previous week to 73.8% last week. This week is set to be another busy auction week with 3,329 capital city auctions scheduled to take place.
Weekly Advertised Listings
Over the four weeks to 8 December 2013, there were 47,100 newly advertised properties listed for sale nationally. The number of new property listings fell by -5.7% over the week and new listings are currently -6.1% lower than at the same time last year. Across the combined capital cities, new listings were -8.2% lower over the week and they are -0.9% lower than they were a year ago.
There are currently 265,552 properties listed for sale across the country. Total listings at a national level were -0.4% lower over the week and they are -8.6% lower than they were at the same time last year.
Across the combined capital cities, total listings have fallen by -1.5% over the week although they are -14.3% lower than they were at this time a year ago. Capital city listings account for around 44% of all listings nationally.