ABS STATS UPDATE

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Bitcoin. After one little US Federal Reserve meeting it’s momentarily taken some of the spotlight away from real estate in the business pages. Even a friend of mine who nags me constantly about property investment is bemoaning the fact he didn’t buy a whole bunch of it months ago. But if you’re tired of reading about how money you could have potentially made, or just itching for some property related reading, then look no further – here’s this month’s ABS statistics update.

According to Housing and Lending Finance results, owner occupier activity remained relatively steady over the month of September, with a slight fall in First Home Buyer dwellings financed (down 1.1 per cent to 1,075) offset by a slight increase in non-First Home Buyers dwellings financed (up 0.9 per cent to 8,398). Both segments have cooled off a little since July, influenced in part by the Federal Election, however at the moment this decline appears (in keeping with my motoring analogies) more akin to an easing off the accelerator momentarily rather than hitting the breaks.

On the flipside, we estimate that the number of investor dwellings financed during September increased by 7.3 per cent to 4,546. The total dollar amount loaned in Queensland for property investment has been trending downwards since peaking in May, but it’s welcome to see that the Investor segment appears to have taken the first steps forward post-election.

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After a steady period of activity for September, there’s expectation that we’ll see a marked increase in next month’s results. With the Federal election over the spring selling season should truly be under way, spurred on by ever-increasing confidence levels and the Reserve Bank rate cut in early August, which usually needs a few months to take full effect.

Speaking of September, REIQ preliminary sales data shows that number of houses sold (with a land area of under 2,400m2) in Queensland increased by 9 per cent over the September quarter, with most regions recording steady or increasing sales activity. Brisbane City and the Gold Coast are leading the way, with preliminary house sales up 13 and 12 per cent respectively over the September quarter.

It’s no surprise then that we’ve also seeing positive yearly median house price increases as well. Over the 12 months to September 2013, Brisbane was up 3.4 per cent and Gold Coast up 4.8 per cent. In fact, most regions are now showing some form of positive median house price change over this same 12 month period, compared to last year when these price changes were in negative territory. It’s not all as roses though, with former shining stars Gladstone and Mackay gradually fading out of the limelight.

Overall, there’s been a steady improvement in house price growth and sales activity since the beginning of the year. And although that may not be as attractive to read about compared to the recent meteoric rise of Bitcoin, it’s still great to now be consistently writing about good times for the Queensland housing market as a whole.

[Results for other regions and individual suburbs around the State, as well as for units/townhouses and land, can be found in our upcoming September quarter 2013 edition of the new look Queensland Market Monitor, due out on December 6.]