Western Australia was the worst performing state for new mortgage growth in the last quarter compared to the quarter before, which could be a sign their market is cooling.
New mortgages in WA fell from 11.2% in the last quarter of last year to just 1.1% in the first quarter of 2014, according to the Veda quarterly consumer demand index.
This may be an early sign that the Perth housing market is “set to cool” in the months ahead, said Veda consumer risk general manager Angus Luffman.
However, throughout the country mortgage demand showed no signs of slackening, with the latest figures showing a 10.8% increase in demand year-on-year – although down from the 14.8% set in the last quarter of 2013.
New South Wales was the top performer for new mortgages in the March quarter with massive 19% growth year-on-year. Tasmania followed (with 13.9%), while Queensland (10.5%) and Victoria (10.4%) were not far behind.
But the growth was moderated by the smaller states and territories, which all saw less than 3% growth. South Australia recorded a decline in mortgage applications of -0.1%.
“The growth in mortgage demand, exhibited since late 2012, is now playing out as growth in the RBA
aggregates, both in the stock of housing credit and new housing finance commitments,” Luffman said.
“However the pace of growth in mortgage applications is something to keep an eye on, as it eased in all states except the NT and TAS in the March quarter.
“The Reserve Bank’s hold on interest rates has supported share market gains and higher housing prices, providing a boost to household wealth and freeing up disposable income. This has offset a weak labour market and a rising unemployment rate of 6% in February – a drag on disposable income growth, which could point to a weakening in demand for credit.”