The Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released housing finance data for April 2014 earlier this week and the headline figures showed that the number of owner occupier housing finance commitments was unchanged in April but was 6.7% higher year-on-year.
The number of refinance commitments by owner occupiers are 0.6% higher over the month and 8.6% higher year-on-year compared to a -0.3% monthly fall in non-refinance commitments and a 5.7% year-on-year rise.
The total value of housing finance commitments (which includes investment and owner occupier commitments) was 1.7% higher over the month and up 20.4% year-on-year.
The value of owner occupier finance commitments increased by 1.4% over the month and was 15.0% higher year-on-year. Investment finance commitments increased by 2.3% over the month and were 29.8% higher year on year.
Owner occupier non-refinance commitments accounted for 43.0% of lending in April compared to 17.0% for owner occupier refinances and 39.4% for investors.
Investment lending as a proportion remains at its highest levels since late 2003.
The housing finance data also revealed that first home buyers continue to play little part in the market.
As a proportion of all owner occupier finance commitments in April 2014 first home buyers accounted for just 12.3% of commitments which was equal to their all-time low. In terms of the number, there were 6,074 first home buyer finance commitments in April 2014 which was -7.3% lower over the month and -12.7% lower year-on-year.
Westpac and the Melbourne Institute released their consumer sentiment index for June 2014 earlier this week.
The Index rose by 0.2% over the week to 93.2 points which remains well below 100 points, indicating pessimism continues to outweigh optimism.
The Index tends to be volatile month-to-month however, on a rolling 6 month average basis the Index was recorded at 98.1 points and was below 100 points for the first time since January 2013.
It is clear that the Federal Budget has had a big impact on consumer sentiment however, it is worthwhile to note sentiment has trended lower since late 2013.
Each quarter this release includes data on the wisest place for savings over the quarter, 29.8% felt that a financial institution (bank, building society or credit union) was the wisest, 24.5% felt real estate was wisest, 17.3% chose pay down debt and 9.9% felt shares were the best.
Interestingly, the reading for financial institutions was at its lowest level since March 2008 suggesting consumers are becoming less focussed on savings.
Weekly Clearance Rates
Auction activity fell sharply last week due to long weekends in many states with 1,191 auctions across the combined capital cities, down from 3,072 the previous week. The weighted average capital city auction clearance rate was recorded at 60.6% last week which was down from 66.4% the previous week. Melbourne is the country’s largest auction market and the clearance rate was recorded at 62.4% which was down from 65.4% the previous week.
Melbourne auction volumes were lower last week (335) than over the previous week (1,356). Across Sydney, 577 auctions were held and the clearance rate was recorded at 67.3% compared to 1,316 auctions and a 73.0% clearance rate over the previous week. Auction volumes are set to be much lower over the current week, with 1,936 capital city auctions currently scheduled.
Weekly auction clearance rates
Weekly Advertised Listings
Over the four weeks to 8 June, there were 41,140 newly advertised properties listed for sale nationally. The number of newly advertised property listings fell by -3.1% over the week and they are currently 7.3% higher than at the same time last year. Across the combined capital cities, new listings were -4.0% lower over the week and 11.7% higher than a year ago.
There are currently 249,165 properties listed for sale across the country. Total listings at a national level were up 0.1% over the week and are 1.3% higher than they were at the same time last year.
Across the combined capital cities, total listings have increased by 0.2% over the week however, they are -1.6% lower than they were at this time a year ago. Capital city listings account for just 42% of all listings nationally.