TIP: home approvals jump, price surge continues, major lenders gird their loins

Who do you believe, the HIA or ABS?


Forget what we said yesterday about new home building approvals being down in September, as indicated by the HIA. The latest ABS numbers appear to dispute that; it says new housing approvals jumped 7.6 per cent in September, contrary to expectations.


New apartment and townhouse approvals jumped a whopping 16 per cent in September, while detached home approvals increased by 2.7 per cent. Queensland led the way with a month-on-month increase of 53 per cent; NSW however, dropped 5.9 per cent.


Approvals for new homes in VIC rose by 7 per cent in September. Prices of existing homes in VIC also led national gains in October, according to CoreLogic's latest Home Value Index figures; they increased by 2.2 per cent, followed by NSW with a 1.6 per cent gain in prices.


For NSW, this is on top of the 5 per cent gained between July and September. This puts the average price of a detached home in Sydney close to $1.1 million.


Westpac is one major bank that is trying to make hay while the sun is shining. Its latest move to attract more home borrowers has been to double the rate discount for people with 30 per cent or more deposit; it will now provide a 10 per cent discount off the base rate.


Westpac is taking big steps to address what ANZ says is likely to be a sustained depression in home lending in Australia. ANZ chief exec Shayne Elliott says while first home buyers are coming back, other types of lenders are a long way away from returning in droves; he reckons it'll be another 12 months before the home lending market is back to strength.


Mr Elliott's point is supported by Reserve Bank data showing home lending is pretty flat. Overall credit growth hasn't been this sluggish since 2011, apparently - and home investor lending is actually decreasing.


...which is crazy if you're putting stock in what Shane Wright has to say in today's SMH. Referring to the latest HIA data, he says Sydney and Melbourne housing hasn't been this affordable in more than five years - but that that situation isn't likely to last long.