Although talk of a housing market surge in cities like Sydney and Melbourne is widespread, recent statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggest that market activity is slowing down.
The figures show four consecutive months of owner-occupier finance commitments slipping despite the perception of a housing boom in the New South Wales and Victoria capital cities.
The REIA said the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures for September 2014 show, in trend terms, that the number of owner-occupied finance commitments fell by 0.2 per cent.
If refinancing is excluded, in trend terms for September, the number of owner-occupied finance commitments fell by 0.4 per cent.
REIA president, Peter Bushby said that the largest drop was in South Australia at 0.4 per cent.
He also reported that decreases were recorded in Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria.
However, not all states have followed this trend.
“The Northern Territory saw the biggest rise at 3.2 per cent,” Mr Bushby said.
Mr Bushby said the September 2014 lending figures indicated a moderating market, with September being the eighth consecutive month of modest drops in lending levels if refinancing is excluded.
“The REIA believes there is no need for the introduction of macroprudential tools – to do so may give rise to unintended consequences,” he added.
Mr Bushby said in trend terms, the number of new dwellings purchase commitments increased by 1.7 per cent, while new dwelling construction decreased 0.2 per cent and the purchase of established dwellings decreased by 0.3 per cent.
“The value of investment housing commitments again increased but by 1.7 per cent,” he said.
“The proportion of first home buyers as part of the total owner-occupied housing finance commitments increased marginally to 12 per cent compared to the record lowest 11.8 per cent in August. However, the ABS advises caution in using this data due to reporting difficulties.”