The value and number of mortgage approvals hit their highest weekly totals since May, in a sign of an uptick in the housing market in the last week of spring, figures released by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand show.
Banks have been reducing some fixed mortgage rates in recent weeks in efforts to spark the dormant housing market, which is supposed to be in its busiest season, back to life. The latest moves by ANZ National and ASB to cut their 18 month and two year rates followed moves by Kiwibank, Westpac, TSB, SBS and others.
There were 5,596 mortgage approvals in the week to November 26, valued at NZ$742.9 million. Both are at their highest since the week to May 21.
The number of approvals was up 3.6% from 5,400 the previous week, while the value of approvals rose 5.3% from NZ$705.6 million over the week.
Based on the last 13 weeks, the number of approvals was still down 22.8% from the same period last year. This was the lowest fall in this measure since the week to July 23.
The value of approvals was down 24.6% in the last 13 weeks from the same time a year ago, the lowest fall in this measure since the week to August 27.