New home sales improve in November: HIA

by Lena Woods10 Jan 2013

New home sales posted a second consecutive monthly improvement in November 2012, driven by an encouraging lift in sales of detached houses, according to the Housing Industry Association (HIA).

The HIA New Home Sales report, a survey of Australia's largest volume builders, showed a 4.7% lift in new home sales in November 2012.

This result was underpinned by an increase of 7.7% in sales of detached houses following a run of five consecutive monthly declines.

Multi-unit sales declined by 6.9% after a spike in October.

HIA economist, Geordan Murray, says that, against the back drop of late 2012 when Australia had lower borrowing rates combined with a number of states encouraging new home building through amendments to first home buyer assistance, it’s promising to see new home sales moving in the right direction.

“The positive result in November was driven by the detached house segment of the market which experienced a trend decline in sales throughout most of 2012. This result should provide some welcome respite.”

However, Murray says that while the increase in November is encouraging, new home sales remain at quite low levels.

“If we consider the three months to November, the volume of sales is 15.7% lower than in the same period in 2011. This overall profile shows that we have a long way to go before we could consider sales volumes to be at satisfactory levels.”

He says the importance of a broad-based rejuvenation of new home building to maintaining the health of the overall Australian economy has been widely acknowledged.

“But at this stage, new home sales sits among a host of indicators that are yet to provide conclusive evidence that we are on track to achieve this.”

In November, the number of seasonally adjusted new detached house sales increased by 15.8% in New South Wales, 15.6% in Victoria and 6.7% in South Australia. Detached house sales were only just down by 0.1% in Queensland and declined by 6.8% in Western Australia.