The Housing Industry Association , the voice of Australia’s residential building industry has forecast positive performance for new home building activity in early 2015 based on housing finance figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

According to HIA Economist, Diwa Hopkins, while total lending to owner occupiers excluding refinancing, eased by 1.4 per cent during the month of October, loans to those constructing a new home expanded by 1.5 per cent to a level that is 14.6 per cent higher than 12 months previously.

She observed that lending on the investor side of the ledger for the construction of rental housing or housing for resale remained strong during the month with the value of lending edging higher by 0.5 per cent to be 24.3 per cent higher than a year previously.

While HIA has noted APRA’s updated guidelines on its supervision of lending practices, including the flexibility of its approach, Ms Hopkins comments it is important that residential construction is not adversely affected by these augmented supervisory provisions.

According to Ms Hopkins, the residential construction sector has remained fairly resilient despite a series of disappointing data updates to the wider economy in recent weeks. Policymakers should be working to ensure that the sector can continue to be a key source of strength in the wider economy as the re-balancing of domestic growth continues to take effect.

A comparison of the total number of owner occupier loans for new housing in October 2014 with October 2013 figures shows increases in Tasmania (+61.5 per cent), the Northern Territory (+35.1 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (+12.3 per cent), Victoria (+9.5 per cent), Western Australia (+8.5 per cent), Queensland (+4.2 per cent) and New South Wales (+1.2 per cent). In South Australia there was a decline of 3.3 per cent.