02/04/2008 - 22:00

New home sales down

02/04/2008 - 22:00

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New homes sales in Western Australia fell 33.2 per cent in February, on the back of a January sales spike, according to the Housing Industry Association’s latest survey of the 100 largest residential builders in Australia.

New home sales down

New homes sales in Western Australia fell 33.2 per cent in February, on the back of a January sales spike, according to the Housing Industry Association’s latest survey of the 100 largest residential builders in Australia.

HIA executive director John Dastlik said the WA market had returned to normal levels after a 47.1 per cent surge in January.

“I think that, over the Christmas period, people made the decision to jump back into the market, and there’s obviously been some pent up demand,” he said.

Mr Dastlik said new home sales were expected to be down 11 per cent this financial year, compared with 2006-07, although sales figures were expected to remain steady to June.

He said recent interest rate rises had dampened activity in the residential market.

“There’s clearly some demand out there that’s not being satisfied due to uncertainty about interest rates,” Mr Dastlik said.

“That’s why we’re hopeful that the banks will sit on a rise until May.” According to the HIA’s survey, 3,995 new homes were sold in WA in the three months to February, slightly down from the 4,071 sold in the same period to February 2007.

Mr Dastlik said he expected interest rate rises to cause a decline in other housing-related areas, such as retailing of home furnishings, over the next few months.

“Under-building is a problem.

There is an underlying demand out there, with the population increase in WA, and we think we should be building more houses,” he said.

The HIA’s survey of the 100 largest residential builders in Australia covers about 18 per cent of the market.

According to the survey, 1,200 new homes were sold in February, down from about 1,650 in January.

Nationally, new house and unit sales fell by 5.3 per cent in February, with detached house sales down by 5 per cent to 7,776.

New home sales in Queensland were down by a third, while sales in New South Wales and Victoria were up almost 18 per cent.

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