Australian home-loan approvals fell in March for a sixth straight month after central bank Governor Glenn Stevens boosted borrowing costs and the government cut grants to first-time buyers.
The number of loans granted to build or buy houses and apartments dropped 3.4% to 48,260 from February, when they declined a revised 2%, the statistics bureau said in Sydney today. The median estimate of 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a fall of 3%.
Slumping demand for housing finance adds to evidence that Governor Stevens’ decision to boost the benchmark interest rate six times in seven meetings is cooling domestic demand. Stevens said last week that borrowing costs are currently close to their “average” levels, stoking speculation policy makers will keep the key rate unchanged in coming months.