Australian Home Loans, Prices Record Modest Uptick

Australian home loans rose slightly in January, according to data collated by the central bank. Home credits edged up by 0.4% in January after adding 0.3% in the previous month. However, the growth still pales in comparison with the 4.4% increase recorded in January 2012.

Consumers have reined in spending and borrowing for some time, prompting the Reserve Bank of Australia to put on hold further rate cuts.

Benchmark rates currently stand at 3% as the central bank looks to keep the Aussie dollar at bay while still pursuing a rebalancing of the GDP growth, analysts told Global Property Guide.

The benchmark rates were cut by 1.25 percentage points last year, but first-time home borrowers remained cautious. Meanwhile, home prices recorded monthly gains in February, according to RP Data and Rismark home value index.

To the end of February 2013, the index results showed that capital city dwelling values rose by 0.3%, following a 1.2% increase in January.

Home prices increased in five of Australia’s eight capital cities in February, largely driven by Melbourne, the country’s second-biggest housing market. Dwelling values rose by 1.5% in Melbourne, adding 2.3% in Darwin, 1.9% in Canberra and 0.1% in Sydney.

Brisbane saw the biggest monthly fall of 1.1% in February after recording a 2.0% growth in January.