Here’s what happened in the property markets this week…
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released dwelling approvals data for February 2013 late last week.
The data showed a strong rebound in dwelling approvals over the month however, the month to month data can be a bit volatile.
Over the month approvals rose by 3.1% with house approvals increasing by 4.2% and unit approvals rising by 1.6%. Year-on-year, dwelling approvals are now 12.8% higher and the number of approvals are now roughly in line with the ten year average.
While the increase in dwelling approvals provides some hope that the housing construction sector is waking up, we are yet to see a firm trend become apparent. The number of approvals fell over 5 of the past twelve months and there hasn’t been an instance of 3 consecutive months where dwelling approvals have increased.
Retail trade data was also released late last week for February and it has showed a strong uplift over the first two months of 2013 (the strongest Jan/Feb since 2001). Following a 1.2% increase in trade in January, it lifted by a further 1.3% in February.
On an annual basis, retail trade has increased by 4.6% year-on-year. Retail trade has increased over the year in every state except South Australia (-1.0%) with the largest increases registered in Western Australia (6.7%), Queensland (6.2%) and New South Wales (6.0%).
Westpac and the Melbourne Institute released the results of their April 2013 consumer confidence survey earlier this week. The Consumer Sentiment Index recorded a fall of -5.1% over the month to 104.9 points. Although sentiment fell, the consumers well and truly remain more optimistic than pessimistic, with the Index remaining at or above 100.0 points for each of the past six month, clearly indicative of renewed levels of consumer confidence.
The fall in the Index was broad-based with all components of the Index falling, the largest of which were a-7.2% fall in the perception of family finances over the next year and a -7.5% fall in economic conditions over the coming five years.
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