Housing demand robust as supply remains constrained

Housing finance remains robust in WA despite falling slightly, down 1.9% over the month to February. 

However, this is still up a significant 27.0% over the year in signs that demand for housing remains strong. This strength continues to be driven by investors, with investor financing now up 58.4% over the year to February. 

This solid demand comes at a time when supply continues to remain constrained. Only 3,022 dwelling units were commenced in the December 2023 quarter in WA – the second lowest number of housing starts on record as builders look to work through the existing backlog of homes.

Retail trade picks up

WA retail trade picked up slightly in February, rising 0.3% over the month and bringing annual growth to 1.6%.

The result was largely driven by an increase in clothing retailing (+3.1% month on month) and department stores (+1.8%), while food retailing remained flat and cafes, restaurants and takeaway recorded a decline (-0.3%).  

US inflation hotter than expected 

Overseas, US inflation rose 3.5% over the year to March, up from the 3.2% recorded in February and a tick above expectations. 

Inflationary pressures continue to be driven by housing and fuel, which combined accounted for more than half the monthly increase. However, core inflation also came in above expectations at 3.8%, indicating price rises remain broad based. 

This result places pressure on the US Fed to hold off on rate cuts, which had previously been indicated for June, and highlights that the battle to tame inflation is yet to be won. 


CCIWA’s Economic reports are available exclusively to CCIWA Complete, Advantage and Corporate Members. For more see CCIWA’s Economic Insight page.   

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