January's finance data confirm that the housing cycle has moved into a downturn. Australia's housing finance commitments for owner occupation fell by 8.1 per cent to 52,574 over the month to January 2004, to stand 1.3 per cent higher than the number a year previously.
WA's housing finance commitments for owner occupation decreased by 9.8 per cent over the month but rose by 8.6 per cent through the year to January, to 6,790.
There has been a more marked downturn in the investment property market, with the value of loans for the purchase of dwellings by individuals for rent and resale decreasing by 15.5 per cent between December and January. This was the third successive monthly decrease, and the largest monthly decline recorded since the data series began in the early 1990s.
However, strong growth earlier in 2003 meant that the value of investment loans was still 8.6 per cent higher in January 2004 than its level a year previously.
Source: ABS Cat. 5609.0
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