eTradesman News - New home sales hit four-year high in March: Housing Industry Association
New home sales rose to a four-year high in March, as apartment purchases jumped 11.3 per cent, Housing Industry Association figures show.
Monthly new sales measured by the HIA - accounting for just over 10 per cent of the market - rose 4.4 per cent to 8076, their highest level since 2010.
Sales of apartments, townhouses and semi-detached dwellings rose to 1820 from 1634 in February, while sales of detached houses increased 2.6 per cent to 6256 from 6099, the HIA said.
The figures add strength to the changing picture of the housing market in Australia, at a time when separate figures show that investor borrowing is rising in Melbourne as well as Sydney. The total 4926 apartment sales in the three months to March, marked a 22.3 per cent rise from the December quarter and was nearly half again - 46.4 per cent - on the 3363 sales recorded in the same period a year earlier.
Sales of detached houses - which still account for almost 80 per cent of the quarterly total - slipped 0.6 per cent from the previous quarter to 18534 and were down 1.3 per cent on the same period a year earlier.
"Growth over the past year has been driven by multi-unit sales, while detached house sales have tracked sideways," HIA economist Diwa Hopkins said.
While detached house sales rose in Victoria (5.2 per cent) and Queensland (4.3 per cent) over the quarter, they declined in WA (6.4 per cent), NSW (3.6 per cent) and SA (1.4 per cent).
The regional discrepancies are likely to continue.
"April has fallen away," Dale Alcock, the managing director of Perth-based ABN Group, the country's third-largest home builder, told The Australian Financial Review on Tuesday. "From a WA perspective, we're certainly seeing some softness in the market at the moment. We're seeing traffic in display centres lower."