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Home loan approvals down 3% in August

AAP logoAAP 11/10/2016 Garry Shilson-Josling, Economist

The number of housing loans being approved for owner-occupiers is at a 15-month low after falling by 3.0 per cent in August.

The fall follows a 4.5 per cent drop in July.

Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said the numbers underscore the uneven conditions in Australia's housing markets, which are weak in terms of finance activity and turnover but firming according to other, more timely, indicators such as auction clearance rates and some price measures..

The housing finance approvals figures should exclude loans to non-residents and so should be unaffected by recent moves by banks to cut back lending to this segment.

But there have been problems with how the loans are classified.

"Hence it is possible that these changes have impacted," Mr Evans said.

The value of housing finance approvals, including loans to investors as well as owner-occupiers, has also fallen, to $31.413 billion.

That's one per cent down on July and at its lowest level since April, seasonally adjusted Australian Bureau of Statistics data show.

The ABS estimates show that the trend in the number of owner-occupier loans is falling 1.3 per cent a month, while the total value of housing loans is trending lower by 0.2 per cent a month.

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