Home lending down 1.5% in January with first-home buyer activity still at near nine-year lows: ABS

Mortgage lending did not bounce back in the first month of 2013 with first-home buyers participation in the market remaining at near nine year lows.

The ABS records that the total number of owner occupied housing commitments fell 1.5% in January to 44,483 home loans.

This follows a 1.5% fall recorded in December.

A survey of 19 economists by Bloomberg this week had forecast a 0.5% rise in mortgage commitments over January.

In original terms, the number of first home buyer commitments as a percentage of total owner occupied housing finance commitments remained at 14.9% in January 2013.

This is the weakest proportion of first-home buyers in the housing market since June 2004 and just two percentage points off the record low of 12.8% in March 2004 for ABS figures going back to July 1991.

Between January 2013 and December 2012, the average loan size for first home buyers rose $2,800 to $297,100.

The average loan size for all owner occupied housing commitments fell $1,200 to $307,100 for the same period.

Accordingt to the ABS, mortgage commitments for the purchase of established dwellings were flat over January.

The figures indicate the residential construction sector remains weak with the number of mortgage commitments for the construction of dwellings falling 0.2% in January 2013, after a rise of 1.6% in December 2012.

On a trend basis, commitments for the construction of dwellings fell marginally (0.1%), the seventh consecutive monthly fall in this series.

Commitments for the purchase of new dwellings rose 2.3% in January 2013, following a rise of 2.3% in December 2012 on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

The total value of owner occupied housing commitments rose 1.3% in January 2013 on a seasonally adjusted basis to $13.76 billion.


Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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