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New home lending edged higher in May 2013 with investor activity also strong, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics housing finance figures.
In the month of May, the number of loans for the construction and purchase of new owner-occupied homes edged up by 0.6 per cent, 18.1 per cent higher than a year earlier.
“Today’s figures show that new home lending to owner occupiers is continuing to consolidate the stronger gains made earlier on in the year. The current pace of improvement, however, is still quite modest,” Housing Industry Association economist Diwa Hopkins said.
“Looking at new home lending across the states and territories, it is encouraging to see that these improvements have been reasonably broad-based. In most jurisdictions, the number of loans over the three months to May 2013 is substantially higher than 12 months ago. The unfortunate exception is Tasmania, where new home lending has suffered a particularly protracted decline.
“In terms of lending to investors, in aggregate, the value of lending was up by 1.5 per cent in May. Much of this improvement was driven by lending for new homes, which increased by 17.2 per cent, following last month’s weak result.
“These improvements are certainly welcome, but fall short of a level of new home lending consistent with the strong residential construction recovery our economy and population requires.”
In May 2013, the seasonally adjusted number of housing finance commitments increased by 1.0 per cent in New South Wales, 2.6 per cent in Victoria, 3.9 in Queensland, 0.6 per cent in South Australia, 3.4 per cent in Western Australia, 1.7 per cent in Tasmania and 4.7 per cent in the Northern Territory.