The number of home loan approvals increased during April according to the ABS. Home loan approvals rose 1%, confounding economists’ expectations of a 2% fall. The total value of housing finance rose 2.9% in April to $32.71 billion.

The Reserve Bank cut the cash rate at its February meeting to 2.25% in an attempt to stimulate the economy. The ABS data also showed a rise in the share of first-home buyers entering the housing market in April. Loans to first-home buyers as a percentage of total housing finance commitments was April 15.2%, March 14.7%, and February 15.1%.