The week that was in property

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released retail trade data for April 2015.

The data showed that retail trade was unchanged over the month, rose by 0.9% over the previous three months and was 4.1% higher over the past shopping

Across the individual states and territories the annual change in retail trade was recorded at: +4.9% in NSW, +4.4% in Vic, +2.9% in Qld, +5.8% in SA, +3.0% in WA, +2.3% in Tas, -0.7% in NT and +5.9% in ACT.

Looking at the annual change in retail trade by industry, the changes were recorded at: +3.6% for food retailing, +8.5% for household goods retailing, +7.5% for clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, +1.5% for department stores, +0.7% for other retailing and +3.3% for cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services.

While retail sales have improved over the year, the growth in retail spending remains well below the long term trend and highlights that consumers need more incentive than just low interest rates to lift their spending.

The ABS also released housing finance data for April 2015 earlier this week

Over the month, the value of housing finance commitments was recorded at $32.7 billion having increased by 2.9% over the month and are 18.7% higher year-on-year.

Of this $32.7 billion, $12.7 billion was for new loans by owner occupiers, $6.6 billion was for refinances by owner occupiers and $13.5 billion was for investment purposes.

Over the month owner occupier new loan commitments rose 2.3%, owner occupier refinances increased +4.5% and investors commitments increased +2.6%.

Year on-year, owner occupier new loan commitments increased by +6.3%, owner occupier refinance commitments were up +38.8% and investment commitments lifted by +23.6%.

The data highlights that refinancing and investors are the key drivers of growth in the mortgage market currently.

Westpac and the Melbourne Institute released their consumer sentiment index for June earlier this week

Over the month, the Index was recorded at 95.3 points marking a -6.9% monthly fall. It is also the largest monthly fall in the index since July 2011.

The consumer sentiment index has only been above 100 points for 4 of the last 18 months and each of the past 3 times it was above 100 points coincided with a cut to interest rates.

It seems an interest rate cut is the only thing providing confidence to consumers and it is seemingly a very short-lasting boost.

aus map

CoreLogic RP Data was tracking 1,054 auctions over the past week, which was a sharp decline from the 2,792 auctions the previous week which can be attributed to the Queens’ Birthday long weekend.

The weighted average clearance rate across the capital cities was 78.5%; the 13th consecutive week where the combined capitals clearance rate has been above 75%.

The largest auction market, Melbourne, saw 315 auctions held last week with a clearance rate of 80.3%.

There were far fewer auctions than the 1,248 the previous week however, the clearance rate was relatively unchanged from 80.2% over the previous week.

In Sydney there were 603 auctions with a clearance rate of 88.7% last week.

Auction volumes fell over the week while the clearance rate increased from 85.0%.

Sydney auction clearance rates have now been above 80% each week since the Reserve Bank cut official interest rates by 25 basis points at the start of February 2015.

number of homes for sale

The number of new homes being advertised for sale has fallen over the past week while total listings have increased for the first time in five weeks.

Total listings nationally are -4.1% lower than the number from a year ago while capital city listings are -6.7% lower.

Over the past four weeks there have been 41,653 newly advertised properties added to the market which is -3.2% fewer than at the same time one year ago.

A similar trend can be seen across the capital cities where 25,183 new listings hit the market over the past four weeks which is -5.2% lower than at the same time last year.

The number of new listings is lower currently compared to the same time in 2014 across most capital cities.

Meanwhile, although capital city stock is lower than a year ago, it is being fuelled by a significant decline in listings compared to a year ago in Sydney (-25.0%) and to a lesser degree Canberra (-17.0%), Hobart (-10.1%) and Melbourne (-9.3%).

The data also shows the ongoing divergence between capital city and regional markets with capital cities accounting for just 41% of total listings nationally.

Want more of this type of information?

Tim Lawless


Tim heads up the Core Logic RP Data research and analytics team, analysing real estate markets, demographics and economic trends across Australia. Visit

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