The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released data on overseas arrivals and departures for July 2014 late last week. The data highlighted the ongoing slowdown in net overseas migration.
Over the 12 months to July 2014, the net number of annual long-term and permanent arrivals was recorded at 362,650. This is still quite high however, permanent settler arrivals are down -5.5% over the past year and net arrivals are down from a recent peak of 411,160 over the 12 months to January 2013.
The ABS also released housing finance data for July 2014 earlier this week. You can read a lot more about the data in this week’s RP Data Research Blog however, the big takeout was the surge in investment lending.
According to the data, the value of investment lending increased by 6.8% over the month while owner occupier lending was unchanged.
Year-on-year the value of owner occupier lending is up 10.4% compared to a 29.6% rise in investment lending. The data shows that in July, investors secured 40.3% of lending which was its second highest proportion ever.
If you remove refinance commitments and only consider new loans, investors accounted for a record high 49.3% of total housing finance commitments.
Westpac and the Melbourne Institute released their monthly consumer sentiment results for September earlier this week.
The data showed that the Consumer Sentiment Index fell by -4.6% over the month to 94.0 points with Westpac noting that the Federal Budget and economic conditions were largely behind the fall in confidence.
Consumer sentiment has now indicated pessimism is outweighing optimism for 7 consecutive months.
The release also included the quarterly data on where respondents feel is the wisest place for savings. 36.6% of respondents felt that a financial institution was the wisest place for savings, up from 29.8% the previous quarter, 25.7% chose real estate up from 24.5% the previous quarter, 13.7% chose pay down debt down from 17.3% and 8.5% nominated shares down from 9.9%.
The large jump in financial institutions is most likely in response to the weakness in overall confidence however, with interest rates so low the fall in pay down debt appears a little surprising.
Weekly Clearance Rates
Auction clearance rates moved to a recent high over the first week of Spring, with the capital city weighted average clearance rate recorded at 74.1%, the highest clearance rate in 27 weeks.
There were 1,893 auctions held over the week compared with 1,054 over the same week a year prior. Auction numbers were lower than the 2,034 recorded over the previous week.
RP Data collected 86% of all auction records. The major auction markets of Sydney and Melbourne continued to record healthy auction results.
Sydney’s clearance rate was 80.1% across 702 reported auctions, which was its highest auction clearance rate in 28 weeks.
Melbourne’s auction market recorded a clearance rate of 76.7% across 872 collected auction results. The clearance rate in Melbourne last week was its highest in 27 weeks.
Weekly Advertised Listings
Over the four weeks to 7 September, there were 34,390 newly advertised properties listed for sale nationally (excluding WA). New listing numbers are slowly trending higher as we enter Spring.
Nationally (exc. WA), new listings are -2.0% lower than a year ago, while across the combined capital cities new stock being added to the market is 1.1% higher than at the same time last year.
There are currently 204,800 properties listed for sale across the country (excluding WA). Total listings at a national level were -6.8% lower compared with the same time last year.
Across the combined capital cities, total listings are -12.0% lower than a year ago, highlighting that total stock levels have reduced over the year.
Note that sales listings are based on a rolling monthly count of unique properties that have been advertised for sale.
*We are currently experiencing some issues with the sourcing of our WA listings data. Our data team is looking into this as a matter of priority however, we have moved WA results from this week’s results and will re-issue when they are revised.
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