The latest housing finance figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reflect flat lending activity for housing suggesting that the heat is coming out of the housing market. The Real Estate Institute of Australia says the figures for May 2015 show, in trend terms, that the number of owner-occupied finance commitments fell by 0.2 per cent. This fall follows nine consecutive months of increases through to March. If refinancing is excluded, in trend terms for May, the number of owner-occupied finance commitments fell by 0.9 per cent.
Decreases were recorded in all states and territories except for South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. The Northern Territory had the largest increase of 0.9 per cent. The largest decrease was recorded in Tasmania – down 1.1 per cent.
In trend terms, the number of new dwellings purchase commitments increased by 1.1 per cent while new dwelling construction decreased by 0.6 per cent and the purchase of established dwellings decreased by 0.2 per cent. The value of investment housing commitments again increased - by 1.1 per cent.
The proportion of first home buyers, as part of the total owner-occupied housing finance commitments, increased marginally to 15.9 per cent compared to 15.8 per cent in April and follows the March figure of 15.7 per cent which was the lowest since July 2004.
The lending figures indicate a market that is moderating with May 2015 being the fourteenth consecutive month of modest drops in lending levels if refinancing is excluded. The moderating housing lending suggest any concerns of an over heating property market should be laid to rest and also allay fears of an imminent bubble.