According to The Australian Financial Review, new home sales picked up in June, in a sign that the housing market was going through an "orderly" correction, the Housing Industry Association said.
A 7.2 per cent increase in detached home sales and an 11.5 per cent rise in sales of apartments, townhouses and semi-detached homes pushed the monthly total to 7873, its highest since March, the industry lobby group said.
Total new home sales for the year to June totalled 91,803, little changed from the previous 12 months.
Detached house sales rose in each mainland state in June, also leaving the monthly total little changed from June a year earlier.
The figures, which roughly correlate to official building approval numbers, suggest June approval numbers out tomorrow may show an improvement after May's 5.2 per cent decline. The continued strength of home sales showed that the housing construction market was not about to fall off a cliff, said HIA chief economist Harley Dale, criticising a report out by consultancy BIS Shrapnel warning that Australia's residential housing boom was about to run out of steam.
"That's a bit different from the alarmist rhetoric from BIS Shrapnel today, that we're all going to hell in a hand basket," Dr Dale said. "We've got to be careful at a delicate stage that we don't generalise too much about the home market."
The resilience of the market belied regional differences, according to the HIA's report, based on a survey of the 100 largest home builders. While new home sales rose 17 per cent in Victoria and 7.1 per cent in Queensland in the June quarter over the same period a year earlier, they slumped in WA (down 27.5 per cent) and SA (down 21.4 per cent).
Sales also fell 7.3 per cent in NSW from a year earlier as prices of new houses rose beyond the reach of first-time buyers, Dr Dale said.
"We have reached a situation where the lack of titled land availability and the high cost of new housing has probably pushed people out," he said.
"There's probably a whole bunch of buyers out there in NSW that if the price point had been more favourable they'd be building a new home, rather than either doing nothing, renovating an existing one or putting further upward pressure on existing property prices in Sydney."
Despite criticism of BIS Shrapnel, the HIA's report also warned of the outlook for apartments, however.
"The outlook for multi-unit construction activity is for some further growth," it said. "Despite the very low share of multi-unit commencements accounted for by the new home sales series, the trajectory is very similar to building approvals. Neither series can answer the question of how much product ends up being built this cycle, and there is large downside risk."
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