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Report finds little movement in national new home sales

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There has been little movement in total new home sales for detached dwellings in February in all states except for Western Australia and Victoria, research has revealed. 

Findings in the latest HIA New Home Sales report show a “bare movement” of a 0.2 per cent increase overall in February, and very little movement in the two sub-series, with detached house sales decreasing by 0.1 per cent and multi-unit sales growing by just 1 per cent.

Detached house sales increased in only two out of five mainland states, including Western Australia, which saw an increase of 11.3 per cent following a rise of 12.1 per cent in January, and Victoria, which posted a detached house sales gain of 5.1 per cent.

The report, however, highlighted exaggerated rates of growth for these states given the “extremely low base for detached house sales”.

Detached house sales fell by 12.6 per cent in New South Wales, were down 5.7 per cent in Queensland and decreased by a marginal 0.2 per cent in South Australia.

HIA chief economist Harley Dale said the updates received for the two key leading indicators of new home building activity were consistent with a modest reduction in national new detached house commencements in 2016-17.

“We are forecasting a decline of 2 per cent in detached house commencements in Australia in 2016-17 following a similar-sized fall of 1 per cent in 2015-16,” Mr Dale said.

He said there were often large differences in conditions for detached housing between states and territories, and HIA’s detached house sales reports consistently flagged these differences.

“In 2017, we expect the profile for leading indicators such as detached house sales to slowly improve for Western Australia and South Australia.

“At the same time, the volume of detached house sales on the eastern seaboard is expected to trend lower.”

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