Data on housing finance commitments released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today show that the weak recovery in South Australian home lending activity observed during the initial months of 2017 may be at risk of stalling. Trend data, which generally provides the best measure of underlying behaviour, indicate that the number of owner occupied housing finance commitments rose by 0.1 per cent to 3,845 in March 2017, while the value of owner occupied housing commitments rose by 0.6 per cent. However, the more volatile seasonally adjusted estimates indicate that the number and value of commitments fell by 3.7 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively.
At the national level, state and territory data show slowing demand for housing finance across Australia. Demand for owner occupied housing finance commitments in the eastern states has been slowing since December 2016. The number of owner occupied housing commitments in March rose by 0.3 per cent in New South Wales (compared to a 0.5 per cent rise in February), were unchanged in Victoria, and fell 0.9 per cent in Queensland. Western Australia recorded the largest fall in demand for owner occupied housing finance commitments, down 1 per cent for March 2017.