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Buyers still confident of Australia's property sector

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Buyer confidence in the property sector remained at a high level over the past 12 months, according to a survey done by ANZ and the Property Council. This is despite banks' recent move to restrain lending to investors, hence leading to a fall in the expected availability of finance among the 1,700 survey respondents.

The end of 2014 saw new guidelines issued by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority designed to curb excessive lending to residential property investors. Similarly, the government also made moves to enforce rules governing foreign investors in housing.

However, the same survey also showed that the share of residential property sales to foreign investors had shrunk slightly to 22 per cent. The share of commercial property from overseas buyers rose by one point to 20 per cent.

"The key indicators are auction clearance rates, price growth, and stabilising housing finance," said ANZ senior economist David Cannington. "There was significant headwind at the end of last year but it looks to have eased."

He also said that the survey provided a good indication for housing construction.

"The sector believes the boom has peaked and will ease to 190,000 to 195,000 in the year June 2017," Cannington said. "Those levels are still 25 per cent higher than ten-year average. So it is a slight moderation in construction activity, not a falling away."

The ANZ and Property Council report is in sync with the recently released National Australia Bank quarterly residential property survey, which showed positive sentiment in the industry in the first quarter of 2016 after falling three quarters in a row and despite negative sentiment in Western Australia.

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