New home sales are on a tear in Australia as traditional housing fades

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Demand for units pushed new home sales in Australia to a new high in February, according to Australia’s biggest builders.

Overall sales of new homes increased by 1.1% following a gain of 1.8% in January. The volume of sales is now just above the previous peak of April 2014.

However, the result was all unit sales which jumped 11.1%. Traditional detached house sales fell by 1.3%.

This agrees with official Australian Bureau of Statistics numbers which show more units are being approved than houses.

“The headlines for the national new housing sector continue to dazzle in early 2015, says Housing Industry Association (HIA) chief economist Harley Dale.

He says the momentum for units sales, according to signals from both HIA new home sales and ABS building approvals, is upward.

Detached house sales are easing in New South Wales and Western Australia and have fallen significantly in South Australia. Modest growth in new house sales in Queensland and Victoria hasn’t been enough to offset these declines.

In February, detached house sales increased by 1.5% in Victoria and by 0.2% in Queensland. Detached house sales declined by 4.8% in New South Wales, 2% in South Australia and 2.9% in Western Australia.

The level of sales in the three months to February was lower in NSW (-6.9%), SA (-2.8%) and WA (-1.3%). Elsewhere sales increased, by 3.8% in Victoria and by 9% in Queensland.

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