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Borrowers buying, not building

By Marilyn Campton

Borrowers were more keen to buy than build in February, according to housing finance data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The seasonally adjusted figures show that the number of commitments for owner-occupied housing finance fell 0.2 per cent in February 2018, brought down by a drop in loans for new building.

The number of loans to buy new dwellings rose 6.6 per cent, while loans to buy established dwellings rose 0.4 per cent. These figures were cancelled out, however, by a drop of 7.1 per cent in lending to build new homes.

Around the country, lending fell 3.6 per cent in Queensland, 0.5 per cent in Western Australia, 1.4 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory, 0.1 per cent in Victoria and 0.2 per cent in the Northern Territory, while improvements were recorded in New South Wales (up 1.5 per cent), South Australia (4.7 per cent) and Tasmania (2.2 per cent).

The total value of dwelling finance commitments excluding alterations and additions rose 0.2 per cent, in trend terms; owner-occupied lending lifted by 0.4 per cent while investment lending fell 0.2 per cent.

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