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
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)