New house sales climb, units fall

The sale of new houses increased in February even as the unit sector took a hit, the latest housing data shows.

According to the Housing Industry Association (HIA), sales of newly completed detached homes rose by 6.9 per cent in February.

In the same period, sales of new multi-unit dwellings dropped by 6.8 per cent.

HIA chief economist Harley Dale said growth was accelerating in the construction sector.

“Both sales and building approvals for detached housing are signalling faster momentum ahead for this component of new dwelling construction, compared to what was evident in the first phase of the recovery,” Mr Dale said.

“This signal suggests more balanced growth ahead in the composition of new home building and adds a further positive dimension to the recovery for many of Australia's manufacturers and suppliers.”

Mr Dale also said the housing construction pick-up appeared to be spreading to more states, with particularly strong results in Queensland.

“New home sales and building approvals are also pointing to a greater geographical breadth to the second phase of the new home building recovery. The initial phase was heavily dominated by two jurisdictions – New South Wales and Western Australia,” he said.

In February, new detached house sales climbed by 17.5 per cent in Queensland and 8.8 per cent in Victoria.

New South Wales and Western Australia continued their good run, increasing house sales by 1.9 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.

Only South Australia saw a fall in new home purchases, dropping 10.7 per cent in February.

Nonetheless, strong results in previous months made for a quarterly rise of 32.5 per cent in the state.

Over the quarter, Victoria alone saw a decrease, with sales falling by 10.3 per cent overall due to a poor performance in December.

Although nationally multi-unit sales fell in the past month, quarterly results indicate an increase of 9.7 per cent.

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