Top 5: Finance & property quotes week commencing February 9

By the resi financial blog team, 16 February 2015

Top 5: Finance & property quotes week commencing February 9

It's been an eventful week across finance and housing sectors, with newly released housing finance and loan data creating quite a bit of discussion and debate amongst industry spectators. The cash rate is also likely to colour commentary for many weeks to come - and it looks like speculation is the name of the game. 

#1. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released revised housing finance figures for December 2014, revealing that first home buyer activity isn't as strong as analysts would hope. Real Estate Institute of Australia CEO Amanda Lynch noted that despite a review of the method used to estimate first home buyer levels, the figures are still concerning. 

"While the revisions have increased the proportion of first home buyers by around 2 percentage points, the figure is the lowest since May 2004 and shows a steady decline since May 2012," she said.

#2. Housing finance was a common thread this week, with ABS data also showing that construction loans for both investors and owner occupiers increased in the final month of last year. 

"Housing construction loans, in both the owner occupier and investor segments of the market, finished 2014 on a strong note. This provides a very positive signal for activity in the residential construction sector in 2015," said HIA Economist Diwa Hopkins.

"Investors are likely to continue playing a key role in adding to the stock of new housing in 2015."

#3. The unemployment rate recorded a disappointing increase in January according to new ABS research. But ahead of this data ANZ Chief Economist Warren Hogan noted that the number of job advertisements has been on the rise for eight consecutive months, an encouraging sign that new labour demand is improving in certain sectors.

"In particular, the relative strength of NSW job ads stands out, and is consistent with other indicators highlighting the state's outperformance," he said.

"We do not expect a significant change in this dynamic amidst below trend economic growth outcomes, with a further rise in the unemployment rate to 6.5 per cent through 2015."

#4. Property prices look to be growing at a reasonable rate, with HIA Senior Economist Shane Garrett revealing that current growth is much more sustainable. 

"In inflation-adjusted terms, the rate of home price growth is now around 5 per cent annually," he said.

"This is exactly the kind of home price growth that prevails over the long term. Australian home price growth is now striking the right balance."

#5. Consumer sentiment is finally on the rise, with the Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment showing a rise of 8 per cent in February.

"This is a much stronger result than we had expected. It represents the first time since February last year that we have seen a majority (albeit miniscule) of optimists over pessimists," Westpac's Chief Economist, Bill Evans, said.

"It is also the highest level of the Index since January last year."

Categories: Home Loans, Property Investment