By Bernard Hickey
Reserve Bank figures show mortgage approvals fell to 4,303 worth NZ$561.2 million in the shortened Labour weekend week to October 29, which was the lowest non-Christmas week since the Reserve Bank started recording the series in 2003.
Mortgage approvals in the shortened holiday week were down 25% on the same shortened holiday week a year ago and were also down 16% on the NZ$668.4 million in the shortened Labour weekend week in 2008, which was in the midst of the housing recession.
The numberof mortgage approvals in the 13 weeks to October 29 was down 25.8% on the same period a year earlier, while the value of approvals in the 13 weeks to October 29 is down 28%.
The slowdown in new mortgage lending is consistent with reports that heavily indebted households are looking to repay debts or stabilise their debts rather than add to their debts to buy new or existing houses.
The housing market has appeared to stall in recent months despite expectations of a bounce in activity going into the better spring weather with low interest rates.
Barfoot and Thompson reported earlier today that sales volumes fell 18.6% in October from September and were down 36% from a year ago. However, prices continued to hold up, although an influx of new listings onto the market in October had lifted inventories. See more here.
Realestate.co.nz reported on Monday that 'spring passed the market by' as new listings fell in a "stagnant, buyers market that could last for months." See more here.