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Housing boom becomes official as billions flow into new home lending

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The Australian housing boom has officially arrived with data showing the total value of new home loan commitments and the value of owner-occupier loans reached record highs in November 2020.

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The value of new home commitments for owner-occupiers in Queensland in November was $3.6 billion. That compared with about $2 billion in May. NSW recorded owner-occupier commitments of almost $6 billion and Victoria $4.6 billion in the month.

Commitments from investors in Queensland are back above the level of February last year when the pandemic concerns were starting to make people nervous before the real crisis hit in March.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said the value of construction loan commitments grew 5.6 per cent in November and have no risen 75 per cent since July.

“This follows the implementation in June of the Government’s HomeBuilder grant in response to COVID-19,” the ABS head of finance and wealth Amanda Seneviratne said.

“Other federal and state government incentives and ongoing low interest rates also contributed to the continuing growth in new housing loan commitments.

“Loan commitments for existing dwellings rose 5.9 per cent and were the largest contributor to the rise in November’s owner-occupier housing loan commitments.

In November, the number of owner-occupier first-home buyer loan commitments rose 3.1 per cent to reach 13,905 (seasonally adjusted), a 42.5 per cent rise since the start of the year.

“This is the highest level seen since October 2009 when similar rapid growth was spurred by the temporary tripling of the First Home Owner Grant, which was part of the Commonwealth Government’s economic stimulus package in response to the global financial crisis,” Seneviratne said.

IFM economist Alex Joiner sad it was a “big upside surprise on housing finance”. He said momentum continued to build in the property market and despite everything dwelling price rises seem assured.

The ABS said total value of new loan commitments for housing rose 5.6 per cent to $24 billion in November, seasonally adjusted, a 23.7 per cent increase on November 2019.

The value of new owner-occupier home loan commitments rose 5.5 per cent to $18.3 billion in November 2020, 31.4 per cent higher than November 2019.

The value of owner-occupier home loan commitments rose across the largest states and territories but showed mixed results in the smaller ones.

Victorian owner-occupier home loan commitments rose sharply, up 19.6 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms in November, reflecting a surge in housing market activity as COVID-19 restrictions were eased.

The total value of loan commitments for investor housing rose 6 per cent to reach $5.6 billion.

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