The Reserve Bank (RBA) February minutes noted activity and prices in the housing market continued to be bolstered by the low level of lending rates and strong population growth.
“A range of indicators, including residential building approvals, suggested further growth of dwelling investment in the near term,” the minutes read.
“Housing price inflation had moderated from the rapid rates seen in late 2013, but remained high and in Sydney and Melbourne had been well above the growth rate of household income.
Get daily business news.
The latest stories, funding information, and expert advice. Free to sign up.
“Growth of owner-occupier housing credit had remained around 6% in year-ended terms, while investor credit had continued to grow at a noticeably faster rate.”
The minutes noted given the large increases in housing prices in some cities and ongoing strength in lending to investors in housing assets, that developments in the housing market would “bear careful monitoring.”
They noted that it would be important to assess the effects of the measures designed to reinforce sound residential mortgage lending practices announced by APRA in December.
Members noted that the data released since the December meeting suggested that the domestic economy had continued to grow at a below-trend pace over the second half of 2014.
“Members noted that there was considerable uncertainty around the timing and extent of the expected increase in household consumption growth and non-mining business investment.
“Although fundamental factors such as low interest rates and strong population growth remained in place, they had not been sufficient to see a significant pick-up in the growth of these variables or a decline in the degree of spare capacity in the labour market.
“In addition, recent data suggested that the expected improvement in economic conditions would occur later than had been previously expected.
“Members commented that a strengthening in non-mining investment was a necessary element for growth to pick up to an above-trend pace, and noted the importance of confidence in underpinning such an outcome.
“Indeed, an improvement in the appetite for businesses to take on risk had the potential, should it occur, to lead to much stronger growth in non-mining business investment than currently forecast,” the minutes advised.
Those attending were Glenn Stevens (Governor and Chair), Philip Lowe (Deputy Governor), John Akehurst, Roger Corbett AO, John Edwards, Kathryn Fagg, John Fraser (Secretary to the Treasury), Heather Ridout AO and Catherine Tanna. The others present were Guy Debelle (Assistant Governor, Financial Markets), Malcolm Edey (Assistant Governor, Financial System), Christopher Kent (Assistant Governor, Economic), Alexandra Heath (Head, Economic Analysis Department), Anthony Dickman (Secretary), and Peter Stebbing (Deputy Secretary).
This article originally appeared on Property Observer.