Housing Approvals Through The Roof

Home loan approval statistics released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has revealed that November 2013 had more home loan approvals than any other month in the past 4 years.

Loan Market Director of Sales Mark De Martino said that NSW, QLD and WA were the strongest performing states helping the housing finance market return to pre-GFC levels.

“New South Wales has recovered nicely over the past two years, with consecutive month-on-month growth since January 2012. The resource rich states of Queensland and Western Australia approved 15% and 12% more home loans that the same time last year. These numbers are certainly encouraging for the economy and specifically the property market,” he said.

Mr De Martino said that the low and stable interest rate environment of 2013 was a critical factor in helping more Australians purchase property and that he expected the market to remain strong into 2014.

“Low interest rates certainly do encourage people to buy but the RBA’s stable approach to the cash rate has given people added confidence in planning their repayments now and in the future,” he said.

Mr De Martino said that first home buyer activity was reportedly low by the ABS, but only because the statistics only accounted for first time buyers that used a buying concession or grant.

“Enquiries for first home buyers remain strong at Loan Market, accounting for 39% of enquiries in November and December. These active buyers are shopping around and waiting for the right property and time to purchase. The first home buyers of 2014 are going to be very prepared and well researched,” he said.

Mr De Martino said that there was some indication that rates could be raised sometime in 2014 by the recent rate movements made by lenders on their fixed rate products.

“Fixed rates for both two and three year terms have been adjusted upwards, albeit by small increments, by several lenders in the past few weeks. On our lending panel the spread between the lowest and highest rates are 1.19%pa for two year terms and 1.32%pa for three year terms."

ABS Housing Finance Statistics, Nov 2013

 State  Month on Month  Year on Year
 NSW 1.83%  22.70%
 VIC 0.36%  9.03%
 QLD  2.36%  14.64%
 SA  1.26%  18.26%
 WA  -0.36%  12.21%
 TAS  -2.61%  21.30%
 NT  0.27%  -6.12%
 ACT  10.84%  5.48%
 NATIONAL  1.13% 15.28%

Source here (table 5).