The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released housing finance data for September 2013 earlier this week. The number of owner occupier finance commitments increased by 4.4% over the month with the number of commitments at its highest level since October 2009.
Owner occupier commitments consist of refinance and non-refinanced commitments, over the month refinance commitments rose by 3.2% and non-refinance commitments increased by 5.0%. Year-on-year, refinance commitments are 16.0% higher and non-refinance commitments are 11.0% higher.
Although overall owner occupier finance commitments are strong, it is being primarily driven by subsequent purchasers rather than first home buyers. The number of first home buyer finance commitments fell by -8.7% over the month and are -24.2% lower year-on-year.
As a proportion of all owner occupier finance commitments, the proportion of first home buyer commitments is at an historic low level of 12.5%. Across individual states, the proportion of first home buyers in September was at record low levels in New South Wales (6.8%) and Victoria (12.2%).[sam id=34 codes=’true’]
Housing finance data also shows the total value of commitments. In September, the total value of owner occupier refinance commitments rose 4.6%, owner occupier non-refinance commitments increased by 5.6% and investment commitments rose 5.2%.
With a total value of $9.4 billion over the month, investment finance commitments are now at record high levels. In terms of the proportion of total new lending for housing, owner occupier refinance commitments accounted for 17.9% of lending, investment lending was 37.3% and owner occupier non-refinance lending was the remaining 44.8%. The proportion of investment loans over the month was at its highest level since May 2004 (37.5%).
Westpac and the Melbourne Institute released their monthly measure of consumer confidence, the Consumer Sentiment Index, for November 2013 earlier this week. Over the month, the index rose by 1.9% to 110.3 points.
On a rolling 6 month average basis the index now sits at 106.6 points which is its highest level since April 2011. Each component of the Consumer Sentiment Index increased over the month except for the expectations for family finances over the next 12 months index which fell by -7.9%.
The sub-indices show that confidence amongst respondents is escalating however, they remained more pessimistic than optimistic about their families finances over the last 12 months and over the coming 12 months.
National Auction Clearance Rates
The number of auctions across the combined capital cities increased substantially last week from 1,668 over the previous week to 2,548 auctions last week. The auction clearance rate fell over the week from 70.3% the previous week to 68.3%.
In Melbourne, there were 1,123 auctions over the week, up from 196 auctions over the previous week. Melbourne’s clearance rate fell to 68.1% last week from 70.8% over the previous week. Auction volumes across Sydney fell over the week from 1,105 the previous week to 1,043 last week.
Auction clearance rates increased over the week to 76.0% from 75.0% over the previous week. There are currently 2,587 capital city auctions scheduled for the current week.
Weekly Advertised Listings
Over the four weeks to 10 November 2013, there were 50,111 newly advertised properties listed for sale nationally, the highest number since December last year. The number of new property listings increased by 0.4% over the week however, total listings remain -1.3% lower than at the same time last year. Across the combined capital cities, new listings were 1.4% higher over the week and are 2.7% higher than they were a year ago.
There are currently 264,508 properties listed for sale across the country. Total listings at a national level have fallen by -1.0% over the week and they are -6.2% lower than they were at the same time last year.
Across the combined capital cities, total listings have fallen by -0.9% over the week and they are -12.5% lower than they were at this time a year ago. Capital city listings account for around 44% of all listings nationally.
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