An uptick in housing finance has one franchise brokerage "quietly confident" that a sustained recovery is on the way.
ABS figures show a rise in housing finance for February. The number of owner-occupied finance commitments rose 2% for the month, while the value of commitments rose 1.2%.
Mortgage Choice chief executive Michael Russell said that the market was now focused on "whether this is a sustainable trend".
"Based on the level of enquiry Mortgage Choice is presently experiencing, overall sentiment and improved national auction clearance rates, we remain quietly confident of another good showing for owner-occupied housing finance in March," Russell said.
There were some dark patches in the data, however. The value of finance for the purchase of new dwellings was down 1.6%, while loans for investment construction fell in value 12.1%. Both the number and value of first homebuyer commitments edged up, but only rose by a modest 0.2%. But Russell expressed optimism that the rise could be "signalling the start of a welcome return of first homebuyers to an improving property market".