December was a stunning month for apartment sales in Australia

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For the first time in four months Australian new home sales have increased.

According to the HIA, sales increased by 6.0%, led by an enormous 21.1% jump in unit sales over the previous month.

Encouragingly, sales of detached housing also increased, rising 2.2%.

Over the month detached housing sales increased in Queensland (+5.2%), Western Australia (+5.0%) and Victoria (+1.1%) but fell in New South Wales (-0.1%) and South Australia (-2.1%).

For the quarter, and providing a better overall indication on the overall trend, sales increased in Queensland (+4.3%) and New South Wales (+0.3%), offsetting declines in Western Australia (-15.4%), South Australia (-10.2%) and Victoria (-4.0%)

“Key leading indicators of new home building such as HIA-ACI new home sales and ABS building approvals and new housing finance are consistent with very healthy national construction volumes persisting throughout the first half of 2016,” said Harley Dale, chief economist at the HIA.

“The updates we receive for leading indicators in coming months will be closely watched to determine the magnitude of any risk that the second half of 2016 is materially weaker for new home building than the first half of the year.”

In December building approvals, a lead indicator for both the residential construction outlook and new housing supply in Australia, jumped by 9.2% to 18,868, leaving them down 2.5% from a year earlier.

Over the year total approvals numbered 232,077, the highest level on record.

While one month does not make a trend, given recent ructions in financial markets – both at home and abroad – it will be interesting to see whether the acceleration in sales can be sustained in the months ahead.

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