Not surprisingly, reported sales in this week’s Real Facts took a dive due to the Easter break, down 38% on the previous week. However this was nowhere near as severe as the fall we saw due to the Easter break in 2011 which coincided with Anzac Day when sales fell 57% and the market was heading into its winter hibernation. The extent of last year’s fall was very evident in last week’s 15 month weekly sales graphic. The fall in activity is also very evident in the Top Performing Suburbs, none of which reported double digit figures
Preliminary rental data has the vacancy rate for the March quarter sitting at 1.9% as the sharp monthly declines over the past 3 months has been arrested with the monthly figure for March currently sitting at 1.6%, the same as February. The stabilising of the vacancy is also evident with the properties available for lease rising 12% since early March after falling 28% in the first two months of 2012. The declining vacancy has seen the overall median rent rise to $420, up 10% for the year with the latest median house rent for March quarter now sitting at $425 whilst the multi-residential median rent has risen to $400.
In other news the latest Housing Finance data is out today indicated loan commitments fell 2.5% seasonally adjusted nationally whilst in WA they increased for the seventh month by 0.8%. All loan categories – construction (1,017, up 17%), newly erected (216, up 3%) and established (5,144 up 7%) increased in original terms in WA but refinancing which is part of the established loan figure also increased by 7% and still represents a very high 38% of all approvals and 47.5% or nearly half of all established approvals. First home buyer loan approvals fell 2.4% to 1,247 with the proportion of first home buyer loans excluding refinancing falling from a spike of 35.5% in January back to 31.7% in February.