New home sales at a 5-year high

The housing market experienced its first annual increase in five years, signalling "a strong recovery" in the housing market in 2013, according to a leading economist.

“New home sales hit a low ebb during 2012. However, a strong recovery took place in 2013 with sales recording their first annual increase in five years,” Housing Industry Association economist, Diwa Hopkins said.

“The key now will be for these improved sales levels to expand further in the year ahead,.

“During the final quarter of 2013, aggregate new home sales climbed by 6.3 per cent to reach a level not seen since mid-2011.

“This was at a time when sales activity was being boosted by the government stimulus.”

The HIA New Home Sales report, a survey of Australia's largest volume builders, showed that total seasonally adjusted new home sales eased by 0.4 per cent in December 2013. The aggregate decline was driven by a 6.6 per cent decrease in multi-unit sales while detached house sales increased by 0.9 per cent. During 2013 as a whole, new home sales rose by 14.4 per cent, representing the first year of growth since 2008.

“Total new home sales were largely unchanged in the month of December, however, the broader trend shows a healthy profile of recovery throughout 2013 and the underlying details are also fairly encouraging,” Ms Hopkins said.

“The aggregate monthly decline was due to an unsurprising pull-back in multi-unit sales, following the previous month’s very strong result. Looking at detached house sales, the growth in this segment has broadened in its reach, with four out of the five surveyed states showing monthly and quarterly increases in December 2013.”

In the month of December 2013 private detached house sales increased by 22.5 per cent in South Australia, 7.3 per cent in Western Australia, 5.8 per cent in

New South Wales and 1.5 per cent in Queensland. Detached house sales fell by 13.4 per cent in Victoria.

During the final quarter of 2013, detached house sales increased by 50.9 per cent in South Australia. They also rose by 12.3 per cent in Queensland, 3.5 per cent in New South Wales and 2.3 per cent in Western Australia. In Victoria, detached house sales fell by 9.5 per cent over the December 2013 quarter.

The Australian Property Monitors Quarterly Housing Report also showed the strongest growth in over four years in the real estate market, with all capital cities experiencing a rise in house prices over the December quarter.

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