New home sales tumbled 5.3 per cent across the nation in February, snapping a four-month run of increases, but the lagging trend did not extend to sales in Western Australia. The Housing Industry Association's latest report found sales of stand-alone houses fell four per cent, while sales of new units and apartments backpedalled 11 per cent. HIA senior economist Shane Garrett said the result was disappointing, given how strong sales had been during the previous four months. "The broadly based decline in activity during February is a reminder of how delicate the nascent recovery in the housing industry really is," he said. "February's data emphasise how far housing market activity has fallen from the levels of just three years ago. "The industry is struggling in the current economic environment and strong policy measures will be required to bring market activity back up to levels consistent with Australia's long term requirements." However, on a more upbeat note, Mr Garrett said the overall direction of housing activity was encouraging, given the gains during the previous four months. Victoria had the largest decline in detached housing sales at 13.7 per cent, while they declined 6.7 per cent in South Australia and 2.8 per cent in NSW.
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