New home sales pick up in Australia, but peak of growth has passed

Taylor Scott International News

Sales of new homes in Australia increased in August following a weak July but an overall downward trend in total seasonally adjusted new home sales is still apparent, the latest data shows. There was an increase of 3.3% in August driven primarily by a strong increase in the usually volatile multi-unit sector, the new home sales report from the Housing Industry Association shows. However the report, which covers Australia’s largest volume builders, says that despite the August bounce, the HIA still believes that new home sales reached their peak for the cycle back in April this year.” ‘The result for August was driven primarily by a strong lift the multi units sector where sales increased by 19.8%, taking this component of sales to its second highest level this cycle,’ said HIA economist Diwa Hopkins. She pointed out that new detached house sales didn’t fare quite so well, up by only 0.5% although this slight rise stopped a decline which stretched to three consecutive months. ‘As leading indicators of new home construction activity, both HIA New Home Sales and ABS Building Approvals are displaying a moderate downward trend. Current levels remain elevated by a historical standard, which is consistent with still healthy levels of new home building throughout 2014/2015,’ she explained. ‘It is important for the new home building sector and the broader domestic economy that we continue to see evidence of historically high levels of building approvals and new home sales throughout 2014 and into next year, even if the peak for these indicators has passed,’ she added. A breakdown of the figures show that detached house sales increased by 11.1% in New South Wales and by 2% in Western Australia but fell by 6.8% in South Australia, by 6% in Victoria and by 0.7% in Queensland. Over the three months to August 2014 detached house sales decreased in each of the surveyed states, albeit to varying degrees, with the exception of New South Wales where sales increased by 0.4%. Sales fell by 9.8% in Victoria, by 4.6% in Western Australia, by 4.4% in South Australia, and by 3.2% in Queensland. Continue reading →

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