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New house sales on the rise around the country, new data finds

30 October 2018 | 9 minute read
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With almost all major states recording a rise in sales for the month of September, the fall in new house sales has stopped, fresh data has found.

New house sales have increased by 1.1 per cent for the month of September, following two consecutive months of declines of 3 per cent, according to the latest edition of the HIA New Home Sales report.

However, Diwa Hopkins, economist at the HIA, noted that this was 4.6 per cent lower than September figure last year.

Across the major capital cities, new house sales were up in every major state, with the exception of Queensland.

The largest sales rise was recorded in Victoria at 7.9 per cent. This was followed by 4 per cent in Western Australia, 0.6 of a percentage point in NSW and 0.4 of a percentage point in South Australia.

Meanwhile, Queensland was the only major state to record a decline, with a drop of 10.8 per cent.

“Despite the monthly pause, the longer-term trend of decline in sales remains in place. We still expect new home building to decline in 2019,” Ms Hopkins said.

“With activity on a clear path to decline in 2019, the key questions now go to the overall building cycle: when and at what level the downturn will reach a floor and then ultimately return to growth.


“Traditionally, new home building downturns last about seven quarters, while the magnitude of the declines has ranged between 13 and 35 per cent.”

Ms Hopkins added that she expects the current downturn to stand out from previous cycles, with the report noting the current downturn being precipitated by tightening credit conditions imposed by the government and regulatory measures, as opposed to the typical causes such as interest rate hikes or global economic disturbances.

“While we expect the current downturn to be longer than what has been typical — spanning some 18 quarters peak to trough — we expect the trajectory to be relatively modest,” the economist said.

“The total decline is forecast to be in the order of 20 per cent.”

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