Australia Home Loan Approvals Fall for Third Month

Australian home-loan approvals fell in December for a third month and the proportion to first-home buyers slumped to an eight-and-a-half year low as central bank interest-rate cuts failed to lure buyers into the market

The number of loans granted to build or buy houses and apartments declined 1.5 percent from November, when they dropped a revised 0.7 percent, the statistics bureau said in Sydney today. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 16 economists was for approvals to remain unchanged.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has reduced the overnight cash rate target six times since Nov. 1, 2011, to match a half- century low of 3 percent in a bid to spur hiring and revive the housing market. While that helped property prices rise last quarter by the most since June 2010, central bank data show housing credit growth in December dropped to the weakest annual pace since records began in 1977.


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