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Are established properties gaining favour?

By Louise Morrin

Demand for new property in Carlton may have declined in favour of more established homes, especially if results of the latest New Home Sales Report are to be taken into account. The Housing Industry Association (HIA) revealed that purchases of brand new properties were down in May this year, bringing a four-month run of rises to an end.

However, the HIA suggested that the results shouldn't be cause for alarm, as there are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the construction sector.

"The mature stage of the new home building cycle primarily reflects further momentum in the multi-unit sector, together with persistence of healthy conditions in New South Wales and Victoria," said HIA chief economist Harley Dale.

Buyers are apparently flocking to purchase new units at the moment, as sales were up 7.6 per cent over the course of the month. As a result, sales volumes increased 26.7 per cent during the three months leading to May.

New South Wales emerged as one of the country's top performers in terms of new home sales. Detached property transactions were up 5.2 per cent in the state during the three months to May.

The May Australian Industry Group/HIA Australian Performance of Construction Index showed that the industry continued to face a number of difficulties over the course of the month. There was a slowdown in the number of new orders received, while employment also increased at a steadier rate than in previous months.

Head of policy at the Australian Industry Group Peter Burn explained that house and apartment building had been especially strong over recent months, but some of these gains have now been lost. In fact, activity in the house building industry was in negative territory for the first time in three months.

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