The Housing Industry Association (HIA) reports that the new housing sector continues to do well in early 2015 with gains registered in January and February. The HIA New Home Sales Report is based on a survey of Australia’s largest volume builders.

HIA Chief Economist Dr Harley Dale observes that total seasonally adjusted new home sales increased by 1.1 per cent in February following a gain of 1.8 per cent in January; the volume of sales is now just above the previous peak of April 2014.

Harley Dale noted that the February new home sales result reflected a jump of 11.1 per cent in ‘multi-unit’ sales, while detached house sales fell by 1.3 per cent. Both HIA New Home Sales Report and ABS building approvals indicate further upward momentum to multi-unit dwelling construction in 2015, while a consolidation can be expected in detached house building at volumes above the long-term average.

According to Harley Dale, new home building conditions vary greatly around the country: For instance, detached house sales are easing in New South Wales and Western Australia (previously key drivers of growth), while they have fallen significantly in South Australia. The modest growth in new house sales in Queensland and Victoria is not enough to offset these declines.

In February 2015, detached house sales increased by 1.5 per cent in Victoria and 0.2 per cent in Queensland; and declined by 4.8 per cent in New South Wales, 2.0 per cent in South Australia and 2.9 per cent in Western Australia. The level of sales in the three months to February 2015 compared with the previous three months was lower in NSW (-6.9 per cent), SA (-2.8 per cent) and WA (-1.3 per cent); while sales increased by 3.8 per cent in Victoria and 9.0 per cent in Queensland.