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Consumer confidence absent in housing market

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Improved consumer confidence is failing to translate to the housing market, according to Master Builders Australia.

Master Builders Australia says housing finance figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the total number of dwelling commitments fell 1.5 per cent in January, seasonally adjusted.

Peter Jones, Master Builders Australia's chief economist said the figures hardly suggest a recovery in the housing market, despite some positives for builders in the latest release.

"Loans for the construction of dwellings and for the purchase of new dwellings combined rose 0.6 per cent from December 2012 to January 2013.

"This is an increase of 9.3 per cent from the corresponding figure in January 2012”, he said.

Mr Jones said that while this is a welcome pickup, it is also a far cry from the sort of strong housing recovery housing builders were hoping for.

"Consumers remain overly cautious about committing to a significant purchase like housing,” he said. “The industry is hoping the rise in consumer confidence will quickly translate into the new housing market.

"Consumer confidence will need to translate into increased spending on housing if the industry is to enter a sustained recovery capable of driving growth in the non-mining sectors of the economy.”

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