ABS Housing Finance figures posted a slight increase overall in September 2012, but below the surface the results are very patchy, according to the Housing Industry Association.
"It really was a mixed bag for housing finance outcomes in the month of September 2012," said HIA's chief economist, Dr Harley Dale. "At least some areas of finance for property are looking a little better, but a broad-based recovery is proving elusive."
"In terms of owner occupiers, there is still some growth in the first-time buyer market, but the modest improvement in finance to trade-up buyers ran out of steam in the September 2012 quarter. The number of loans for the purchase of a new dwelling continues to mount an encouraging recovery, however the number of loans for construction is back to its lowest level since January," said Dr Dale.
"The divergence extends to investor finance as well - the profile for investment lending for existing property is looking slightly better, but for new property it's at a two-and-a-half year low," Dr Dale said.
"If you're financially set to do so, now is a very good time to build a home - we have a very competitive market, lower borrowing costs, and greater availability of tradespeople," added Dr Dale. "Hopefully evidence of a broader-based recovery emerges soon."
In the month of September 2012 the total number of seasonally adjusted loans net of refinancing increased by 1.2 per cent, as did (net) loans for established dwellings. The number of loans for the purchase of a new dwelling was up by nine per cent in September, but the number of loans for construction fell by 6.3 per cent.
In September 2012 the total number of seasonally adjusted loans for the construction and purchase of new homes increased by 5.1 per cent in New South Wales, 2.8 per cent in Queensland, 1.6 per cent in Western Australia, 28.1 per cent in Tasmania, 2.9 per cent in the Northern Territory, and 2.1 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory. The number of loans fell by 9.1 per cent in Victoria and was down by 11.8 per cent in South Australia.