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The number of loans to owner occupiers, excluding refinancing, declined modestly in February in Australia, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. However, the number of loans to those purchasing and building new homes increased by 2% which the Housing Industry Association, the voice of the residential building industry, said is encouraging. ‘This is a relatively positive result against a backdrop where lending to households purchasing existing homes eased back modestly,’ said Geordan Murray, HIA economist. Overall the number of loans to owner occupiers buying established homes, excluding refinancing, fell by 0.9% in February to a level 4.9% weaker compared with the same time a year ago. ‘Lending figures indicate that the investor market eased by around 3.4% during February, but remained around 9.9% higher than the same period a year ago. The majority of the growth in investor lending has been to those purchasing existing homes. In February over 90% of lending to investors went into the existing home market,’ explained Murray. He pointed out that lending activity in the first home buyer market remained quite weak. The number of loans to first home buyers in the three months to February 2015 was around 8.2% lower than the corresponding period a year earlier,’ he added. A breakdown of the figures shows that the total number of owner occupier loans for new housing in February 2015 compared with February 2014 shows that only Victoria and Tasmania recorded growth at 3.2% and 71.7% respectively. Elsewhere, there were declines with a fall of 0.4% in New South Wales, Queensland down 1.7%, South Australia down 17.4% and Western Australia down 12.8%. Continue reading →
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