Last week saw Australia reach a significant milestone (and no I’m not talking about the selection of possibly the weakest Ashes Test team in history).
On the evening of 23rd April 2013, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Australian Population Clock finally ticked over the 23 million person mark. According to the demographers at the ABS, our estimated resident population increases by one person every one minute and 23 seconds. In comparison, Queensland’s own population counter assumes an estimated resident population increase of one person every five minutes and 38 seconds. Population growth is an important statistic in determining housing and infrastructure needs, especially for a state like Queensland which has had a consistent net increase of migrants (both from interstate and overseas) since the 1980s.
Also released last week were building commencements and completions data for the December quarter 2012. After graphing these figures alongside buildings approvals data, we can see just the slightest of upticks around the second half of 2012. It’s certainly not the significant rebound many in the construction were predicting at the beginning of that year but it’s a good result nonetheless. Interestingly these movements closely follow those for Queensland house and unit sales activity across the same periods, which is further evidence that the Queensland property market as a whole has taken a turn for the better, though there’s still a long way to go.
Finally, all housing and finance data was up for the month of February. This comes as little surprise however as figures for January were lower as per expected. Non-First Home Buyers (FHB) continue to lead the way in terms of activity, up 12.9% for the month and 8.0% compared to the year before, at 7278 dwellings financed. Investor estimates were up 10.2% over the month to 3584 dwellings financed, but were 8.4% lower when compared to a well-performing February 2012.
While FHB numbers saw an increase of 12.8% over February 2013 to 846 dwellings financed, this result was 46.1% less than February 2012 (and again from a very low January 2013 result). Unchanged from the month before, FHBs accounted for 10% for total Owner-Occupiers dwellings financed for February 2013, compared to the 12 months ending September 2012 where the average was around 20%. If data from the latest AFG Mortgage Index is any indication, this figure isn’t expected to show any improvement soon.