The number of home loan approvals for owner-occupiers fell slightly in February but were better than expected.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that housing finance approvals fell 0.2 per cent in February to 54,427, beating market expectations of a 0.4 per cent fall.
JP Morgan analyst Henry St Jean said the fall in owner-occupier housing finance reflected falling demand for new loans from households and stricter lending practices.
The value of total housing finance was up one per cent at $33.5 billion for the month, in seasonally adjusted terms.
The value of new home loan approvals for owner-occupiers rose 1.3 per cent, and the value of investor loans was up 0.5 per cent.
Westpac analyst Matthew Hassan said the value of investor loans is still down six per cent on a year ago, and owner occupier activity is up only slightly.
“Overall, the steady picture around finance approvals, the recent stabilisation in auction clearance rates, and somewhat improved buyer sentiment suggests markets are stabilising after the slowdown in 2017,” Mr Hassan said in a research note.
But he said prices continue to show modest slippage.