Lending finance data for February 2015 was released earlier this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which provides an insight into mortgage lending trends across each of Australia’s states and territories.
Investor lending has been of particular interest to the Reserve Bank (RBA) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) of late, particularly in Sydney where investment demand has been substantially higher than other regions.
The data continues to show very strong demand from investors across NSW.
NSW had $5.3 billion in commitments to owner occupiers and $4.4 billion to investors over the month.
Excluding refinanced loans, investors comprise 59% of all new mortgage originations in the state.
Based on the value of investor housing finance commitments, NSW accounted for 43.2% of all investor housing finance commitments nationally over the month followed by 25.2% in Vic, 15.5% in Qld, 9.4% in WA, 3.8% in SA, 1.4% in ACT, 0.8% in NT and 0.7% in Tas.
Westpac and the Melbourne Institute released their consumer sentiment index for April 2015 earlier this week
The data showed that consumer sentiment fell by -3.2% over the month to 96.2 points.
The Australian consumer seems to be mired in pessimism with the index recording an optimistic reading just once over the past 14 months (in February this year when the RBA lowered the cash rate by 25 basis points).
Although the consumer sentiment index fell over the month, family finances over the next year and the index of time to buy a major household item remain in optimistic territory.
Building activity data for the December 2014 quarter was also released earlier this week by the ABS.
The data release showed that over the quarter there were 48,125 dwelling commencements consisting of 28,071 houses and 19,592 units.
House commencements were down -0.9% over the quarter but 14.9% higher year on year.
Unit commencements were -22.0% lower over the quarter and -2.9% lower year-on-year. Looking at dwelling completions, there were 26,763 houses and 18,190 units completed over the quarter. House completions are 4.1% higher over the quarter and 10.6% higher year-on-year.
Unit completions fell by -9.9% over the quarter and were 29.2% higher year-on-year.
With dwelling approvals hitting record highs early in 2015 it shows a strong pipeline of new housing stock which is likely to result in a high number of commencements and completions over the coming year.
CoreLogic RP Data was tracking 1,674 auctions over the past week, which was a significant increase on the 653 auctions the previous week due to the Easter long weekend.
The weighted average clearance rate across the capital cities was 77.2%; the fifth consecutive week where the combined capitals clearance rate has been above 75%.
The largest auction market, Melbourne, saw just 716 auctions held last week with a clearance rate of 77.6%, down from 86.5% across far fewer auctions over the previous week.
In Sydney there were 671 auctions with a clearance rate of 83.4% which was slightly lower than the 84.7% the previous week on lower volumes.
Sydney auction clearance rates have now been above 80% for 10 successive weeks since the Reserve Bank cut official interest rates by 25 basis points at the start of February 2014.
The number of homes being advertised for sale has moved lower over the past week, the third consecutive weekly decline
The number of newly advertised properties available for sale has also fallen over the week, the sixth consecutive weekly fall.
Total listings nationally are – 2.8% lower than the number from a year ago while capital city listings are -6.3% lower.
Over the past four weeks there have been 41,429 newly advertised properties added to the market which is -13.1% fewer than at the same time one year ago.
A similar trend can be seen across the capital cities where 24,786 new listings hit the market over the past four weeks which is -15.3% lower than at the same time last year.
The number of new listings is lower currently compared to the same time in 2014 across every capital city.
Meanwhile, only Perth (+15.3%), Darwin (+29.5%) and Canberra (+13.7%) have more total stock for sale now than they did a year ago.
Note that the total number of properties listed for sale in Sydney (18,019) is now lower than each of: Melbourne (29,220), Brisbane (18,450) and Perth (20,292).