Housing market conditions strengthened until end of February
The most recent ABS monthly data tracking lending activity report, which includes lending within the residential property market for both new and existing homes purchased by owner occupiers, shows promise for the sector.
The number of loans to owner occupiers for the purchase or construction of a new home increased by 5.8 per cent in the three months to February 2020 compared to the previous three months, providing further evidence that the housing market was heading into 2020 looking up, says HIA Economist Angela Lillicrap.
“These results, along with other leading indicators such as new home sales and building approvals data, continue to confirm that the housing market reached a turning point mid-way through 2019,” Ms Lillicrap explained.
“The total number of loans to owner occupiers in the three months to February 2020 was up by 5.4 per cent compared to the previous quarter to be up by 12.3 per cent compared to the same period last year.
“This was driven by lending for new homes which was 12.7 per cent higher than this time last year, versus established dwellings which were 1.3 per cent lower.
“First home buyers remained active in the market, with the largest number of loans issued to first home buyers during the month in over a decade.
“Investor lending was also improving, up by 3.4 per cent in the quarter to be 6.3 per cent higher than the same time last year.
“These results show that at least until the end of February, we were looking at solid home building activity across most regions in 2020.”
The report shows that across the states, the number of loans to owner-occupiers for the purchase and construction of dwellings in the three months to February 2020 was higher than a year earlier in Victoria (25.0 per cent), Queensland (20.7 per cent), South Australia (18.0 per cent), Western Australia (12.1 per cent) and New South Wales (6.6 per cent). Lending declined over this period by 6.8 per cent in Tasmania.