Australian new home sales fell in early 2018

Justin Sullivan/ Getty ImagesJustin Sullivan/ Getty Images
  • Australian new home sales fell in January, lead by weakness in New South Wales and Victoria
  • Total sales are now down 14.9% the recent cyclical peak
  • Ausytalia’s HIA is forecasting detached housing completions to fall 5.1% this year. It expects a larger 15% drop for multi-unit construction.

Australian new home sales fell modestly in January, continuing the soft trend seen in other housing market indicators at the beginning of 2018.

According to Australia’s Housing Industry Association (HIA) today, sales of detached houses fell 2.1% across the nation in seasonally adjusted terms, reversing the upward trend seen in prior four months.

They now sit 14.9% below the cyclical peak struck in mid-2015.

Source: HIA

The group said the weakness was driven by lower sales in New South Wales and Victoria, Australia’s most populous states.

Sales in NSW fell 5.7%m leaving them down 0.8% on a year earlier.

Victorian sales also slipped, falling 4.4% from December. Over the year, and partially reflecting recent strength in building approvals and population growth, sales in the state were still up 8% on the levels of a year earlier.

Across Australia’s less populous mainland states, sales increased by 4.6% in South Australia, 1.2% in Western Australia and by 1% in Brisbane.

Over the year, sales in South Australia and Queensland grew by 26% and 2.2% respectively.

Despite the modest bounce in January, transactions in Western Australia were still down 23.5% on a year earlier.

The HIA did not publish data for multi-unit dwellings in the latest report citing insufficient data.

“These results will be updated in future editions of this report when the data become available,” it said.

Given recent trends in Australian building approvals data, the HIA is forecasting that detached housing completions to fall by 5.1% this year. It expects a larger 15% drop for multi-unit construction.

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