Latest housing finance data shows volatility

The latest housing finance data for April, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), continues to show volatility, as there was a fall of 1.6% in the value of dwelling commitments.

Nevertheless, finance commitments for the construction of new dwellings were a standout, rising by 2.1% in the month, despite a fall in the number of purchases of new, established, and owner-occupied housing.

“These latest results largely offset the growth in housing commitments recorded earlier in the year. But do also highlight the growing volatility in the statistics as the housing sector passes the current peak,” said Matthew Pollock, national manager of Master Builders Australia.

First-home buyer commitments rose as a share of total owner-occupied loans, from 13.6% to 13.9% in April. “But this was as much to do with weakness in the non-first home buyer statistics as it was to do with any spike in interest from first-home buyers. The number of first-home buyer commitments fell by 1,392 compared to March 2017, a fall of 17.5 per cent,” Master Builders Australia said.

“This reinforces the need for more to be done to reduce the regulatory and compliance costs that [govern] house prices to improve the ability of first-home buyers, and new homebuyers in general, to achieve home ownership,” Pollock said. “Owning your own home is part of the Australian way and Master Builders is committed to keeping it that way.”