The Reserve Bank (RBA) again chose to keep the official cash rate on hold at 2.5% when they held their monthly board meeting earlier this week.
The statement following the announcement noted that the economy is continuing to grow at a below trend pace but there has been a recent improvement in indicators of household and business sentiment. It also noted that the easing in monetary policy since 2011 has supported interest sensitive spending and asset values.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released dwelling approvals data for August this week. On a month-to-month basis the results tend to be quite volatile.
Dwelling approvals fell by -4.7% in August, driven by a -6.5% fall in private sector unit approvals compared to a -1.6% fall in private sector detached home approvals.
Year-on-year, dwelling approvals are 7.7% higher with both house (10.3%) and unit approvals (3.2%) higher. On an annual basis, there were 163,064 dwelling approvals which was 11.7% higher than at the same time last year and the highest reading since September 2011.
The RBA released private sector housing credit figures for August 2013 earlier this week. Private sector housing credit increased by 0.4% in August with owner occupier housing credit up 0.4% and investor housing credit up 0.6%.
On an annual basis, housing credit is up 4.7%, its highest annual growth since August 2012. Owner occupier housing credit has increased by 4.2% over the year, its greatest increase since October 2012 and investor housing credit is up 5.9%, the greatest annual increase since June 2011. Although the annual growth in housing credit has increased slightly over recent months it continues to expand at near record low levels.
Retail trade data for August 2012 was also released earlier this week by the ABS. The data showed that retail trade had increased by 0.4% over the month, was 0.5% higher over the past three months and 2.3% higher over the past year.
The data showed a large monthly increase in department store spending, up 6.4%. If we look at the results over the past 12 months, the greatest increases in spending have been for food retailing (3.8%) and cafes, restaurants and take-away foods (3.2%). Retail trade in department stores is -3.3% lower over the year and other retailing has risen by just 0.1%.
National Auction Clearance Rates
Auction results last week remained strong however, the number of auctions dropped sharply due to the AFL Grand Final. Last week there was 1,243 auctions across the combined capital cities down from 2,109 the previous week and the auction clearance rate rose slightly from 73.1% the previous week to 73.5% last week.
[sam id=38 codes=’true’] Melbourne saw a low volume of auctions over the week (92) with the auction clearance rise up to 77.8% from 75.9% the previous week. In Sydney, auction clearance rates fell to 79.3% last week from 81.4% the previous week however, Sydney had a greater number of auctions last week (891) compared to the previous week (766).
There are 1,400 capital city auctions currently planned for this week with the long weekend and NRL Grand Final impacting volumes this week. Clearance rates map
Weekly Advertised Listings
Over the four weeks to 29 September 2013, there were 43,875 newly advertised properties listed for sale nationally. The number of new property listings fell by -0.7% over the week reversing the recent upwards trend of new stock entering the market over the early weeks of Spring. Across the combined capital cities, new listings were virtually unchanged over the week and they are now -0.1% lower than at the same time last year.
There are currently 255,411 properties listed for sale across the country. Total listings at a national level have increased by 0.8% over the week and they are -6.2% lower than they were at the same time last year.
Across the combined capital cities, total listings have increased by 0.9% over the week and they are -13.9% lower than they were at this time a year ago. Capital city listings account for around 43% of all listings nationally.