AUSTRALIAN Bureau of Statistics housing finance figures released last week point to a soft start for new home lending in 2011/12, according to the Housing Industry Association.
In July the total number of seasonally adjusted loans fell by 2.7 per cent in NSW and was down by 1.3 per cent in Victoria, 2.0 per cent in Queensland, 1.0 per cent in South Australia, 3.0 per cent in Tasmania and 2.8 per cent in Canberra.
Only Western Australia and the Northern Territory bucked the trend with rises of 1.8 per cent and 7.8 per cent respectively.
Housing Industry Australia chief economist Harley Dale said following a reasonable improvement in June, the number of loans for the construction or purchase of new homes slipped back again in July.
"We have seen weaker updates for all new housing leading indicators released for 2012/13 to date," Mr Dale said.
"The starting position for new home building is GFC-like levels, the negative implications of which are reverberating through not only the new home building sector, but parts of manufacturing and retail as well."
He said we need to be seeing consistent evidence of improvement in leading indicators — such as new home lending and local government building approvals — to provide some hope that conditions will lift.
"The evidence isn't there and that has to be a prominent concern for policy makers," Mr Dale said.
"In terms of total owner-occupier lending, the moderate recovery in the first home buyer market continues, but is exaggerated because of the low base, and the trade-up buyer market appears to be losing momentum.
"On the investment front, what was the barest of recoveries has petered out.
"At a time of considerable shortage in affordable rental accommodation it is concerning that new residential investment has effectively tracked sideways, at a historically low level, for over six months."