Home lending figures “no cause for alarm”

Adam Smith 12 September 2016

house spotlightA housing lobby has claimed a decline in housing finance is “better than it first looks”.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show a 3.1% fall in value for owner occupied lending for July. The total value of housing finance commitments fell 1.8%, offset slightly by a 0.5% rise for investment lending.

Housing Industry Association (HIA) chief economist Harley Dale claimed the numbers contained “bright spots underneath”.

“While the number of loans for owner occupiers fell across the board in July 2016, the lending profile over the three months to July signals no cause for alarm,” he said.

Dale said lending for the purchase of new dwellings increased over the quarter, while the number of loans for owner occupiers for new constructions fell “very moderately”.

“This is hardly ‘shock, horror’ stuff, but these latest finance figures do reinforce that the overall market has peaked,” Dale said.

Dale laid the blame for some of the declines at the feet of policy makers.

“It is rather ironic that without the policy uncertainty generated by proposed changes to superannuation and persistent headlines regarding negative gearing amendments, lending for existing investment properties would be lower and the counterpart new home building component would be even healthier. That’s exactly what policy makers are after, yet their own actions are delaying that outcome and hampering housing affordability,” he said.

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