ABS property stats update

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Sharpen those pencils and get out your pocket calculators – it’s time for some ABS stats!

Queensland First Home Buyer (FHB) dwellings financed totalled 982 for the month of December (down 30.7 per cent from November). This stands at about half of the 10-year average (at around 1,990 FHB dwellings financed per month) and the third lowest result since the ABS data series began in July 1991. The other lowest months being June 2000, a month before the first-ever First Home Owner’s Grant for Queensland was introduced,  and January 2011, when the Queensland floods hit.

This result is in stark contrast to claims that the First Home Owner Construction Grant has been luring FHBs to the property market since its inception, which I must admit has left me and some others around the office scratching our heads a little confused.

There is some good news for the Queensland property market though.  While non-FHBs and investor figures were also down for the month, overall these results could be interpreted as more a reflection of seasonality. Instead, let’s turn our attention towards comparing results between the September and December quarters.

Non-FHB dwellings financed for the December quarter were up 11.4 per cent vs. the September quarter (and up 12.6 per cent vs. December quarter 2011). Estimated investor numbers were also up 2.9 per cent vs. September quarter 2012 (and 2.3 per cent vs. December quarter 2011). Meanwhile, FHB dwellings financed for the December quarter 2012 are down 10.4 per cent versus the previous quarter (and down 11.1 per cent vs. December quarter 2011).

In addition, our recently published December quarter 2012 house sales data showed that while sales numbers were down from the over-achieving September quarter, they remained at solid levels and had improved on figures recorded for the December quarter 2011. Also consistent with the upward trend for house prices as published by other organisations (including the ABS House Price Index), the Brisbane City region saw a slight increase in its median house price for the December quarter 2012, up 0.4 per cent.

Results for other regions and individual suburbs around the State, as well as for units/townhouses and land, can be found in our upcoming December quarter 2012 edition of the Queensland Market Monitor, due out on March 8.

Ryan Connors is the REIQ’s research analyst.