Queensland floods drag Australian home loans down in January

13:55, March 09, 2011      

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The latest Australian housing finance figures show a decline in the number of loans approved in January following flooding in Queensland state.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported on Wednesday that home loans approved in January had fallen 4.5 percent in January to 48,871.

Economists' forecasts had centered on a 0.5 percent rise in housing finance commitments for the month.

Flood-ravaged Queensland alone recorded a drop of 16.4 percent to the lowest in just one month short of a decade.

Australia's financial services company, ICAP senior economist Adam Carr said it was pretty clear that recent flooding in Queensland had dampened the overall number, although he expected the number to pick up during the rebuilding period.

"There's a big rebuilding underway in Queensland and obviously that's going to flow through to lending numbers," Carr said.

However, he did not expect the number to change expectations of future cash rate hikes by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

"In terms of the outlook, I don't think it means a lot because the RBA said they're going to look through flood impacts and this is what we're seeing," he said.

The ABS also said total housing finance by value fell by 5.3 percent in January to 20.29 billion AU dollars (20.45 billion U.S. dollars).

Source: Xinhua
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