April new home sales show signs of residential housing recovery


The latest New Home Sales Report released by the

Housing Industry Associations (HIA), which surveys Australia's largest volume home builders,  has shown new home sales are continuing their trend towards recovery.

According to the latest report, total seasonally adjusted new home sales increased by 3.9 per cent in April 2013, taking monthly sales back to a level not seen in more than a year.

The headline result was driven by a 6.7 per cent lift in detached house sales, which was experienced across all states covered by the survey except Queensland. In contrast, multi-unit sales fell by 9.4 per cent.

HIA Senior Economist, Shane Garrett, said the recent developments in new home sales were encouraging.

“In particular, the important detached house segment of the market continues to climb out recent record lows, and this improvement has largely been broad-based across the states,” he said.

“While multi-unit sales have softened over recent months, the gains made over the course of 2012 have not been eroded.

“A broader look at the situation shows that the volume of sales in the three months to April this year is still 51.7 higher than trough experienced a year earlier.”

In April 2013 detached house sales increased by 9.1 per cent in Victoria, 9.0 per cent in Western Australia, 8.1 per cent in New South Wales, and 2.7 per cent in South Australia.

Detached house sales fell by 1.8 per cent in Queensland.

Mr Garrett said the industry needs to consider the longer term prospects of a recovery in residential construction beyond 2013.

“The economy is amidst a transition away from growth driven by mining and related investment and the consensus aspiration is for residential dwelling investment to fill the ensuing hold,” he said.

“While we share this aspiration, we don’t have strong evidence that this will actually be achieved.

“There are still major obstacles to recent improvements in residential construction developing into a sustained recovery.

“Households remain cautious and are still using lower interest rates to hasten debt repayment rather than engage in spending.

“On the other side of the housing ledger, home builders and residential developers are facing tight credit conditions, hampering the number of projects that proceed to sale and building commencement.

“For a recovery to be of the duration and magnitude required not only by the economy, but by Australia’s housing needs, governments of all levels, led by the federal government, need to take decisive policy action to address these obstacles.”

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