Housing finance figures for August "lacklustre"

The latest housing finance figures for August have been described by one expert as "lacklustre", with lending to owner-occupiers only rising by 1.2 per cent.

Andrew Hanlan, senior economist at Westpac, observed that compared to the data for the end of 2009-10, the level had declined by 0.9 per cent in total.

For new lending, the dip was even more pronounced, with the amount lent in August falling by 4.6 per cent.

The expert observed that refinancing was up 25 per cent over the last five months and that during the course of the year it has risen by seven per cent to date.

"Interest rates will be critical to the outlook. Westpac is forecasting the Reserve Bank of Australia to lower the cash rate by one per cent over the year ahead," he concluded.

Craig James, chief economist at CommSec, concurred with this forecast, telling the Australian that the odds of a cut in the cash rate in November improved following the release of data showing a decline in the number of jobs advertised in newspapers and online.

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