Home-loan approvals gained in December as consumers warmed to lower interest rates and Government packages aimed at helping people buy houses.

The number of home loans, seasonally adjusted, gained 6.4% in December from the previous month, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting a 3.5% increase in the month, reflecting the easing credit conditions.

The December rise marks the third consecutive month of gains in home-loan approvals, as interest rate cuts and a $10.4 billion Government stimulus package - aimed in part at home buyers - begins to get traction.

The Age