The Reserve Bank kept official interest rates on hold at 2.0% at their monthly board meeting earlier this week.
The statement from the RBA governor, Glen Stevens, following the meeting noted a few key points that guided their decision to keep rates on hold:
- The global economy continues to grow however, growth is slightly lower than anticipated
- Commodity prices and the terms of trade has continued to fall
- Financial markets are showing heightened volatility due to the global economic outlook Data suggests that outside of mining the Australian economy strengthened in 2015
- Housing risks are being contained by prudent lending standards via regulatory measures and the pace of growth in dwelling values has moderated over recent months
- Inflation remains quite low
Based on these factors the board decided that the current accommodative monetary policy settings were appropriate however the low level of inflation provides the RBA with the scope to cut rates further if it is required.
Building approvals data for December 2015 was released from the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week and you can read a lot more about at the CoreLogic Research blog.
The headline figures from the release showed that in December 2015 there were 18,868 dwelling approvals nationally, of which 9,968 were house approvals and 8,899 were unit approvals.
House approvals rose 5.7% over the month and are 3.4% higher year-on-year.
Unit approvals were 13.5% higher over the month but -8.3% lower year-on-year.
Despite a monthly rise we expect that the number of building approvals will continue to trend lower through 2016, they are currently -8.7% lower than their peak.
National Australia Bank released their Quarterly Residential Property Survey for Q4 2015 earlier this week.
The survey has lots of valuable data included however, one of the most interesting parts is the statistics on overseas buyers.
Respondents reported that 14.6% of new property sales over the quarter were to overseas buyers compared to 17.9% over the previous quarter.
Over the week ending January 31 2016, CoreLogic RP Data captured 390 auction results, accounting for more than 89% of all auctions held across the capital cities.
The final auction clearance rate over the past week was recorded at 59.4% which is exactly the same as the clearance rate for the week ended 20/12/15 which was our last gauge of the auction market.
In Sydney the auction clearance rate was 44.9% across 49 results and Melbourne’s clearance rate was 69.9% across 133 results.
Given the low volume of auctions it is premature to judge the health of auction markets however, as auction numbers rise over the coming weeks we will get a better feel for how auction activity is tracking relative to last year.
The national number of newly advertised properties was 22.8% lower relative to the same period one year ago with 45,333 properties added to the listings pool over the past twenty eight days.
Across the combined capital cities new listings are 15.0% higher than they were at the same time last year and Sydney (-5.1%) is the only capital city where new listings are lower than a year ago, possibly indicating some reluctance from vendors to list their property as housing conditions slow.
The total number of properties available for sale is higher than a year ago across both the national (4.6%) and combined capital city (8.7%) markets.
Hobart (-4.0%) is the only capital city with fewer total property listings relative to a year ago.
Over the coming weeks as housing market activity continues to increase coming out of its seasonal slowdown, it will be interesting to watch the listings data in order to get an idea of both new supply and how quickly homes are selling.