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Home sales rise for third month in Dec

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AAP

2013-01-31

Australia's housing sector ended the year with some good news, reporting a third monthly rise in the number of new homes sold.

The Housing Industry Association's (HIA) data shows new home sales rose 6.2 per cent in December, after rising 4.7 per cent in November, and 3.4 per cent in October.

Sales were up 3.3 per cent over the December quarter, but remained 12.7 per cent lower than the same quarter of 2011.

HIA economist Geordan Murray suggested it indicated a possible rejuvenation of the housing market in the coming months but, he said, it would depend on any interest rate cuts and other support.

"If we look at the under-performing market for 2012 - detached houses - the December improvement was broad-based as sales increased in all but one of the surveyed states," he said.

"However, the overall result for 2012 leaves plenty of room for improvement.

"It is hoped that further signs of an impending new home building recovery emerge in coming months. However, it remains the case that lower interest rates alone will not deliver a recovery of the magnitude required by Australia's economy and population."

Detached house sales were down 22.7 per cent in the year to December, while multi-unit sales rose 24.1 per cent in the same period.

In December, detached house sales were up in New South Wales (7.1 per cent), Victoria (6.0 per cent), Queensland (3.8 per cent), and Western Australia (12.2 per cent).

They fell by 1.8 per cent in South Australia, but this came after three consecutive monthly rises.

Caroline Smith