Housing figures remain strong

AUSTRALIANS should be very pleased with the March 2009 housing finance figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which show demand for mortgages across all major categories, especially for owner occupiers, first homebuyers and the construction of dwellings, continues to show solid growth.

Both sectors of the market have revealed solid improvement in growth since October 2008, with the value of loans for owner occupiers rising by a large 7.3per cent, the number of dwelling commitments for the construction of dwelling up by an impressive 13.9per cent and the number of first homebuyer commitments as a percentage of owner occupied commitments rising to a record 27.3 per cent.

In fact, the number of first homebuyer commitments for the month, at 17,652, showed a 100 per cent increase on the 8,818 who entered the mortgage market in August 2008.

The March data also showed a re-emergence in investor interest, which increased for the first time since December 2008. The value of investor housing-fixed loans commitments increasing by 4.7per cent. A number of commentators hadn't expected this to happen until later in the year.

The overall value of housing finance commitments for all dwellings rose for the fourth month in a row, by 6.7per cent. During the previous month, February, it had risen by 1.3 per cent.

CEO of Mortgage Choice, Australia's largest independently-owned mortgage broker, Michael Russell said, “The March ABS figures can only be described as positive, demonstrating the resilience of our housing market at a time when the global economy is really feeling the burn of the financial crisis.”

“The strong growth we see demonstrates the positive effect of Federal and State government stimulus and incentives, which have combined with other factors - low interest rates, steady housing prices, improved housing affordability and healthy population growth along with increasing rents and historically low rental vacancies rates to create a 'buyer's market'”.



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