SYDNEY, March 31 Sales of new homes in Australia jumped in February on strong demand for detached houses, an industry survey showed on Monday, the latest sign that low interest rates are fuelling a revival in the market.
The Housing Industry Association (HIA) said its survey of large builders showed sales of new homes rose 4.6 percent in February from January, to their highest in almost three years.
Sales of new detached houses surged 6.9 percent in February, while the volatile multi-unit sector dropped 6.8 percent.
"Both sales and building approvals for detached housing are signalling faster momentum ahead for this component of new dwelling construction, compared to what was evident in the first phase of the recovery," said HIA chief economist Harley Dale.
"This signal suggests more balanced growth ahead in the composition of new home building and adds a further positive dimension to the recovery for many of Australia's manufacturers and suppliers."
The Reserve Bank of Australia has been counting on a revival in home construction to help support the economy as a long boom in mining investment finally peaks.
Record-low interest rates have led to a marked pick-up in home prices and clearance rates at auctions, while approvals to build new homes are trending sharply higher. (Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by John Mair)