Australia’s latest housing data, while promising on the surface, has increased concern the market may be overheating, posing a potential threat to a still fragile economic recovery.
A government report Monday showed the value of home loans approved in Australia rose 1.1% in November from October and 15% from a year earlier, confirming that record-low interest rates are continuing to fuel demand for houses and apartments.
However, the data also highlighted two trends that policy makers will be less thrilled about.
First, the rise in the value of mortgages approved continues to be driven by people looking to invest in property, rather than those seeking to move into houses or apartments. Second, first-home buyers are increasingly being frozen out of a market in which house prices have hit record highs in some large cities.
“While owner-occupier demand is intensifying, investor demand is surging well ahead,” said Janu Chan, a Sydney-based economist at St. George Bank in a note to clients, pointing out that investor loans for housing exceeded 30% in November.