16 Jul 2008

Housing mortgage applications down

12:45 pm on 16 July 2008

There's been further evidence of a slump in the housing market.

Veda Advantage, a credit company, says mortgage applications fell by 21% in the first six months of this year.

Industry figures last week showed house sales fell to their lowest level in 16 years in June and prices declined about 2%.

the number of people applying for a mortgage increased between March and May.

But a decline of 10% in June has Veda saying any significant recovery is unlikely in the next 12 - 18 months, and conditions are likely to get worse before they get better.

A rise in the cost of living has also hit credit applications.

Hire purchase applications fell 9.5% and personal loans agreements slumped 16% in the half year to June, as households held off buying big ticket items like cars and washing machines.

Yet credit card applications rose, which the company attributes to people wanting the greater flexibility offered by a credit card compared to a fixed loan.

Increasing numbers of people and firms are also failing to pay their bills.

Consumer defaults rose 7%, with sharp jumps in the number of people not paying their phone or internet bills.

In the commercial sector, defaults among small and medium sized firms rose 24%. Veda says it's a worrying sign that New Zealand is slipping into recession.