Some might have looked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics' June lending figures and seen a very slight decline. While not a reason to panic, it may have started them thinking about their property in Carlton or St George and what might happen to its value.
Real estate experts, however, have been more discerning. They view the figures as a sign the Australian property market – long accused of being overinflated – is finally moderating, helping to end months upon months of hyperventilating in certain quarters.
The principal figure is that of dwelling commitments by owner occupiers, which fell 0.6 per cent in June. Other than Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, this was a decline felt in every state and territory.
The construction of new dwellings also fell modestly, in this case by 0.9 per cent. At the same time, the value of dwelling commitments, both among investors and owner occupiers, increased, but this was such a modest lift – 0.2 per cent at most – that it indicates a clear break from the surging activity of months gone by.
"The declining housing lending suggest any concerns of an over heating property market lead by investor activity should be laid to rest," commented Real Estate Institute of Australia president Neville Sanders.
"The lending figures indicate a market that is moderating, including the hotspots of Sydney and Melbourne".
According to Mr Sanders, this June marks the fifth month in a row that lending has experienced very minor falls, if refinancing is taken out of the equation. What this means is that the market is unlikely to see a serious overcorrection, and anyone with real estate in St George and surrounding areas need not worry about their property suddenly losing all of its value.