The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its quarterly Residential Property Price Indexes data for December 2015.
The data showed similar trends to that which was shown by the CoreLogic RP Data Home Value Index results for December which were released almost three months ago now.
In fact, the March 2016 CoreLogic RP Data Home Value Index results will be released at the end of next week.
The Residential Property Price Indexes data did include some interesting statistics on the value of residential properties and an estimate of the number of dwellings nationally.
At the end of December 2015, the ABS estimated that the total value of residential property in Australia was $5.886 trillion which compares to the current CoreLogic RP Data estimate of $6.5 trillion for February 2016.
The estimate for the number of dwellings nationally was 9.616 million at the end of last year, having increased by 1.7% or 162,900 dwellings over the year.
If you pair this data with data released by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) you also get some interesting statistics about mortgage housing stock.
The data shows that 57.1% of housing stock is mortgaged to Australian Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions (ADIs) which is up from 55.5% a year ago and 23.5% of the total value of mortgage stock is outstanding to Australian ADIs which is unchanged from a year ago.
Late last week, Heidi Richards from APRA delivered a speech titled, ‘A Prudential Approach to Mortgage Lending’.
The whole speech is well worth reading and is available here.
The speech looks at how APRAs oversight of the mortgage market has evolved over recent years and looks at the changes that have been implemented.
In particular the speech looks at: loan to value ratio (LVR) policies, serviceability calculations, living expense assumptions and interest rate assumptions that have been utilised in serviceability assessments.
It also highlights how these measures vary across mortgage lenders and how they have shifted over the past year following intervention by APRA to ensure sound lending policies are being maintained.
Glen Stevens, the Reserve Bank Governor, also made an address this week, speaking at the annual ASIC forum in Sydney.
While Governor Stevens speech was largely focussed on slowing conditions in the housing market, most of the focus was on the Q&A time where Mr Stevens answered questions on the Australian dollar.
Despite a clear preference for a lower Australian dollar, following the speech the dollar rose to just over US$.76 where it has held reasonably firm.
Over the week ending March 20, 2016 there were 3,540 auctions held across the capital cities with CoreLogic collecting 3,254 results, accounting for almost 92% of all auctions held.
The final auction clearance rate for the week increased from 64.9% the previous week to 68.8% with the number of auctions last week the highest since November last year and up from 1,488 auctions the previous week.
Last week, across Melbourne, the largest capital city auction market, 1,788 auctions were held with a clearance rate of 72.1% which was an increase from the 68.6% clearance rate across 420 auctions the previous week.
Sydney’s clearance rate increased over the week to 71.8% from 71.2% over the previous week with auction volumes increasing to 1,114 from 729.
From here we expect that the auction market will take a pause with Easter this weekend and many people going on holidays.
Post-Easter it will be interesting to see if the current market momentum can be maintained.