Home loan uptake rises in June, new figures show

The number of Aussies successfully applying for home loans rose by 1.3 per cent in June, new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics have revealed.

This was a marked improvement on May 2012, when the demand for mortgages dropped by 0.9 per cent.

According to the statistics, the total value of loans being issued to house hunters grew by 2.4 per cent during the month.

It is no coincidence that the uptake of home loans increased at the same time as the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) made two significant interest rate cuts.

The central bank slashed the national cash rate by 50 points in May and then another 25 points in June. Although these reductions were not passed on to banking customers in their entirety, it seems that the lower rates did encourage more people to get a foot on to the property ladder.

Senior economist at the Housing Industry Association (HIA) Andrew Harvey said the new figures were encouraging, but more still needs to be done to make properties more accessible.

"The reality is that new home loans have been grinding higher over the past six months rather than mounting a sustained and significant recovery," he remarked.

"Unfortunately we needed to see a much stronger recovery in new home lending coming through in the first half of 2012 to signal a significant turnaround in residential construction," Mr Harvey added.

The RBA has opted not to lower the national cash rate since June and this may have a bearing on future studies that assess the demand for mortgages across the country.

Last week, the Australian Associated Press reported that a survey conducted by Loan Market found that most Aussies believe further rate reductions are needed to kick-start activity in the housing sector.

Many of the respondents also suggested the government needs to offer more incentives if new houses are going to be built.

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