New home sales continue 'modest' upward growth

May 2013 saw new home sales continue on an upward growth pattern, but the sustainability of such figures is being debated



New home sales in May 2013 continued their modest moves up and away from the record lows experienced in 2012, according to the Housing Industry Association (HIA).

The HIA New Home Sales report, a survey of Australia's largest volume builders, showed that total seasonally-adjusted new home sales increased by 1.6% in May, taking monthly sales back to their highest level in 18 months.

Detached house sales posted modest growth of 0.9% through gains occurring in three out of five mainland states - NSW, VIC, and SA. Multi-unit sales enjoyed a faster monthly growth pace of 5.7%.

"It is pleasing to observe upward momentum in new home sales continuing, especially given the low depths plumbed in 2012," says HIA chief economist, Dr Harley Dale.

"A range of housing indicators, including new home sales, suggest Australia experienced modest growth in new residential construction in 2012/13, with some momentum in activity set to carry into the fresh financial year.”

Dale says this outcome was ‘important’, as it followed a sustained period of weakness which saw activity in a majority of markets reach historically low levels.

"The key is whether a new home building recovery can be sustained and at a growth rate sufficient to meaningfully assist the Australian economy with its rebalancing acts. We won't get that required outcome while policy makers continue to assume that super low mortgage rates will do the job all on their own."

In the month of May, 2013, detached house sales increased by 4.3% in NSW, 8.8% in VIC and 6.9% in SA. Detached house sales fell by 2.2% in QLD and by 10.3% in WA.

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