A question: Why are low rates having a bigger impact on the housing market here than in the US?

Today when I was peeking across a number of economics blogs, I noticed a post from the Rates Blog on the NZ housing market, and a post on the Big Picture on the US housing market.

They both had graphs for housing loan approvals:

Rates blog

Big Picture

Now, the New Zealand home loan figure jumped, while the US PURCHASE figure hasn’t.

My questions are

  1. if we take into account seasonal adjustment and refinancing, is the New Zealand purchase figure rising?
  2. if the New Zealand purchase figure is rising, why – especially when the US (where prices have fallen a lot more) is still struggling.

If the purchase figure is rising, I’d be tempted to put it down to a “supply” issue – US housing market is over-stocked, ours is looking a little light.