“Overall the figures for March 2017 show, in trend terms that the number of owner-occupied finance commitments decreased by 0.1 per cent. If refinancing is excluded, in trend terms, the number of owner-occupied finance commitments increased by 0.5 per cent following a rise of 0.7 per cent in February.
“Increases were recorded in New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory with the Northern Territory having the largest increase of 1.8 per cent. Decreases were recorded in Queensland and Western Australia with the largest decrease in Western Australia at 1.0 per cent. Victoria remained flat.
“In trend terms, the number of established dwellings purchase commitments decreased by 0.1 per cent while new dwelling construction increased by 0.4 per cent and the purchase of new dwellings increased by 0.2 per cent.
“The proportion of first homebuyers, as part of the total owner-occupied housing finance commitments, increased to 13.6 per cent in March 2017 from 13.3 per cent in February 2017 and the number of first home buyer commitments increased by 20.5 per cent and is the highest since November 2016.
“The March figures show that the market is adjusting. We will need to closely monitor the cumulative impact of recent actions by the regulators, banks and the Federal Budget initiatives to ease demand by property investors and ensure that they don’t threaten economic growth through reduced construction activity”, Mr Gunning concluded.