The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released housing finance data for the month of September, which registered a seasonally-adjusted 0.9% increase in the number of owner-occupied finance commitments over the month. August’s results were also revised up by 0.4%:
Arguably, the most important figure in the release is the number of owner-occupied housing finance commitments excluding refinancings, which registered a seasonally-adjusted 1.2% increase over the month to the highest level since February 2010. After bottoming in March, the number of commitments is now in a clear uptrend. That said, the number of commitments (excluding refinancings) remains some -6% below the five-year moving average level. August’s result was also revised up by 0.4%.
The value of owner-occupied finance commitments also hit the highest level since February 2010 after bottoming in March 2012:
Unfortunately, the ABS only provides the value of investor finance commitments. These rose by 9% in September and hit the highest level since May 2010:
Overall, it’s another solid result that once again contradicts the RBA’s credit aggregates figures, which registered the slowest annual housing credit growth in the series’ history. This suggests that pre-existing home buyers are likely paying-off their mortgages quicker, which is offsetting some of the new mortgages being written.
It is also uncertain the extent to which the owner-occupied results nationally were affected by a possible a pull-forward of demand in New South Wales and Queensland from first-time buyers rushing to beat the October expiry of the first home buyer’s grant on pre-existing dwellings.