31 January 2013 New home sales rise for third straight month

Sales of new homes increased in December for the third month in a row, building on hopes of a modest recovery in Australia’s housing sector.

The positive result follows hard on the heels of recent data showing house prices across Australia rose 2.1 per in 2012, reversing much of the steep declines seen the year before.

Figures released by Fairfax-owned Australian Property Monitors show solid growth in the December quarter of 1.9 per cent drove a rebound at the end of the year.

Some of those gains were spurred by new home sales in December which rose a seasonally-adjusted 6.2 per cent, the latest Housing Industry Association (HIA) data shows.

Over the December quarter sales were up by 3.3 per cent, the HIA said.

“The promising headline rise last December was driven by both detached house and multi-unit sales,” HIA economist Geordan Murray said in a statement.

Compared with 2011, detached house sales were weak through much of 2012, down by 22.7 per cent over the year, Mr Murray said.

But while initially underperforming, in December they bounced back.

In the last three months of the year detached house sales were up in New South Wales (+14.4 per cent), South Australia (+9.3 per cent) and Western Australia (+2.5 per cent).

They fell, however, in Victoria (- 8.4 per cent) and Queensland (-5.5 per cent).

Multi-units sales out performed in 2012, recovering from record low levels the year before to rise 24.1 per cent over the year, the HIA said.

The better outlook has prompted property professionals to predict mild house price gains over the next two years, according the NAB’s quarterly residential property survey.

Reproduced in part with permission: Fairfax Media New home sales rise for third straight month 31 January 2012

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