Falls felt for February housing finance


Mark Bristow

Mark Bristow

( 3 min read )

The latest Housing Finance figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicate that while Australian home buyers are committing more money towards owner occupied housing and less towards investment properties, the overall number of housing finance commitments are falling, including the number of first home buyers.

According to the data for February 2018, the average loan size for first home buyers rose $300 from January 2018 to $327,700, while the average loan size for all owner occupied housing commitments fell $6,800 to $382,200 for the same period.

What’s more, the number of Aussies refinancing their loans grew by 0.2% in February 2018, following a previous increase of 0.4% in January 2018.

Value of housing

Looking at the data for February 2018, the value of Australia’s dwelling commitments increased by 0.2% from January 2018 on a trend basis. This increase was predominantly driven by an increase to the value of owner occupied housing commitments of $88 million (0.4%).

This figure included increases to the value of commitments to established dwelling purchases by $85 million (0.5%) and the construction of dwellings by $5 million (0.2%), but also a decline in the value of commitments for the purchase of new dwellings of $1 million (-0.1%).

But while owner occupied housing grew in value, investment housing experienced a decline of 24 million (0.2%) on a trend basis in February 2018. The value of commitments for the purchase of dwellings by individuals for rent or resale was down $61 million (-0.2%), and for the construction of swellings for rent or retail by $11 million (-0.9%).

On the other hand, the falls were partially offset by an increase to the value of commitments for the purchase of dwellings by others for rent or resale by $47 million (4.0%). 

Value of dwelling commitments

Value ($m) % change
Total dwellings 33,261 0.2
Owner occupied housing 21,337 0.4
Investment housing – fixed loans 11,924 -0.2

source: ABS

Number of dwellings financed 

The number of owner occupied dwelling commitments saw a fall of -0.6% on a trend basis from January to February 2018. This follows a previous fall of -0.7% in January 2018.

Falls were recorded in the number of dwellings financed for all states and territories, save for the Northern Territory, which was flat, and Tasmania, which was up by 0.2%.

It was also found that the number of first home buyer commitments as a percentage of total owner occupied housing finance commitments fell to 17.9% in February 2018 from 18.0% in January 2018.

Number of dwelling commitments

Number % change
Owner occupied housing 54,539 -0.6
Construction of dwellings 6,060 -0.1
Purchase of new dwellings 3,010 -1.0
Purchase of established dwellings 45,469 -0.6

source: ABS

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