New Year High for Home Loan Approvals : ABS

Housing finance data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has revealed 2014 is off to its hottest start in 5 years and nearly every state is showing double digit growth.

Loan Market director Mark De Martino said that 13 per cent more home loans were approved this past January than in January 2013 and New South Wales was showing the strongest improvement approving 18 per cent more at start the calendar year.

“The 51,054 home loan approvals this past January is the highest January total we’ve seen since 2009. As long as interest rates remain low and lenders continue their aggressive moves, we’re going to see more growth and more activity in the real estate and finance markets,

“We’re coming off a low base but these numbers are still a clear indication that consumer appetite for home finance is growing. The fact is that a larger number of home owners and buyers are active in the market,” Mr De Martino said.

Mr De Martino praised the efforts of the Reserve Bank of Australia saying that the prolonged period of stability in the cash rate has helped customer confidence.

“The lowest interest rates of this generation are one of the factors helping the recovery of the home finance markets. With no immediate rate movements predicted by most analysts, we should expect the cash rate to remain where it is for several more months,” he said.

The ABS data also showed that since January 2009, Banks have continued their dominance of the lending landscape by approving 91 per cent of all loans since January 2009.

Mr De Martino also noted the interesting observation that in December and January’s loan approvals only differed by 11 loans nationally.

“Maintaining such high national numbers through the two months of the year that are traditionally slower due to seasonality is a great example of how the market is recovering,” he said.

Number of Home Finance Commitments January 2014: ABS

State  January 2014 January 2014 vs 2013
NSW  13,650  9.1%
QLD 9,828  17%
SA  3,372  10%
WA  7,564  10%
TAS  858 20%
NT  339 -15%
ACT  782 21%
Australia  51,054 13%