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Matthew Hassan, analyst at Westpac, points out that the Australia’s housing finance approvals weakened again in March more than reversing a modest gain in Feb.

Key Quotes

“The total number of owner occupier loan approvals ex refi declined 2.8%mth vs consensus forecasts of a 0.5% dip. That followed a 0.5% rise in Feb and sharp declines over the second half of 2018, monthly moves running at -1.5%. Whereas the Feb report had suggested markets were finding a base, the March update clearly undermines that view. Approvals are down 13.8%yr and despite the Feb improvement have continued to trace a 13% annualised pace of decline over the first three months of the year.”

“The value of investor loans ex refi fell 2.7%mth, coming off a 0.2% dip in Feb, a weak result although still an improvement on the average declines of 3.6%mth over the previous six months.”

“The combined total value of housing finance approvals across both owner occupier and investor segments (and excluding refi) fell 3.2%mth, more than reversing a 2% gain in Feb to be down 18.4%yr.”

“Overall, the March update was disappointing given the improved, i.e. ‘less weak’, tone from some other market measures – auctions and monthly prices in particular.”