Australia March new home sales rise 0.2 pct - industry

SYDNEY Thu May 1, 2014 9:00pm EDT

SYDNEY May 2 (Reuters) - Sales of new homes in Australia rose again in March, capping a solid quarter that showed a broadening recovery in the housing sector, an industry survey showed on Friday.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) said its survey of large builders showed sales of new homes rose 0.2 percent in March from February, taking the quarterly increase to 5.8 percent.

In the March quarter, sales of new detached houses rose 7.0 percent, while the volatile multi-unit sector eased 0.2 percent. Detached house sales increased in all of the surveyed states led by a 20.2 percent rise in Queensland.

"It's encouraging to see that during the March 2014 quarter all of the surveyed states recorded increases in detached house sales," said HIA Economist, Diwa Hopkins.

Record-low interest rates have led to a marked pickup in home prices and clearance rates at auctions, while approvals to build new homes are trending sharply higher. (Reporting by Ian Chua; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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