New House Sales Momentarily Decline, With a Positive Outlook

The Australian new house sales overall performance for January 2017 saw a small decline of 2.2% as reported by HIA. Although the start of 2017 has experienced a minor fall in sales, that result needs to be reviewed within context of the 3 month reporting period including November and December of 2016. As the end of 2016 experienced very healthy sales growth, Australian new house sales is still up 0.3% for the quarter.

Queensland was the best performing state in terms of sales in the last quarter, with a detached houses experiencing an impressive 10.2% increase. New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia each experienced a decline in sales during this reporting period, which we have detailed more information on that below.

In context of long term analysis of house sales, the new home market is in very good shape. If you consider that the last decade has seen the longest new home sales cycle in history, the current results, and the outlook is extremely strong. This is a positive news for anyone looking to build a new house. iBuildNew CEO Daniel Peterson added “the fundamentals are quite different in each major state across the country, however especially in Melbourne and Sydney the fundamentals for new home construction are very strong driven by immigration and population growth, coupled with relatively short supply of new land availability. Builders and developers are still reporting strong enquiry levels and deposits in February and March so we don’t expect to see any slow done in new home sales for at least the next 6 months.”

Understanding New House Sales Across Australia

New South Wales / Sydney

In New South Wales the new house sales fell by 6.8% in the January 2017 reporting period. The downward trend over time in the Sydney and general New South Wales market points towards the home-building boom slowing down after a spike in 2016 of 26,710 total new house sales. This trend is supported by the downward trend of building approvals in the state from HIA, and ABS data. “Take this data with a grain of salt as most Sydney builders and developers are still reporting strong demand and we know from our own web traffic and enquiries that the market is still really strong”, was the advice from iBuildNew CEO Daniel Peterson.

Victoria / Melbourne

Victoria new house sales for the January reporting period declined by 4.1%. As with the Australian home sale stats, this needs to be taken into context with longer reporting periods. For the 3 months in the January quarter (back to November in 2016), new house sales grew an impressive 8.7 per cent. With that longer house sale reporting period taken into consideration, the Victorian housing market as a whole is in very good shape. iBuildNew CEO Daniel Peterson commented “it is just such a great time to be building a new home in Melbourne, its just a question of finding the right block of land in a suitable location for the buyers needs, and this is something we are trying to help people with through our phone consultants and builder and developer partners.”

Queensland / Brisbane

For those looking to build in Queensland, the new home sales market is in an extremely good position. Despite a 2% decline throughout January, the Queensland new house sales has increased by 10.2% from Quarter 3 (Jul-Sep) 2016 to Quarter 4 (Oct-Dec) 2016. Queensland is a good case study to illustrate that new home sales, versus apartment sales markets are very different markets. In Queensland, particularly Brisbane apartment developments are in over supply and starting to see a decline in values, meanwhile private house sales values are on the rise.

ABS detached new house approvals were down 1.8 per cent in December 2016, while new home approvals were up when compared to the September quarter. iBuildNew CEO Daniel Peterson added “We will need to see more HIA data in the coming months to better understand if we can expect further growth of new home sales in the Queensland and Brisbane markets, but based on feedback from the market we are not anticipating any softening in the near future”.

South Australia / Adelaide

In South Australia the new home sales market like a number of other states in Australia saw a small decline in the January 2017 reporting period of 1.4%. December also experienced a small decline of 1.9%. These declines neutralise the impressive new home sales growth in November.

The new detached house sales in Adelaide hasn’t been overly positive for the last year or so. The market of new house approvals saw a rapid decline of 14.4% in January 2016. This is compounded by a similar level over the last 6 months with small fluctuations in new house sales results. iBuildNew CEO Daniel Peterson observed “based on our web traffic and enquiry levels, it seems that SA market has certainly bottomed out with a number of green shoots appearing in February and March, so building activity is likely to be on the rise once again in 2017 in Adelaide”.

Western Australia / Perth

New house sales in Western Australia and Perth experienced a very impressive rebound in the January 2017 reporting period, by 12.1 per cent. This rebound in new home sales follows a fairly dismal November and December with house sales growth compressing by 4.2 and 9.0 per cent respectively. In summary, the rebound has stabilised the market, for now.

Detached new home approvals continues to decline in Western Australia, in January a reduction of 8.1% occurred. The forecast suggests a possible further decline, however not as grim as what the new home market experienced in 2016, and 2015. iBuildNew CEO Daniel Peterson also commented that “given the state government initiative to boost the first home buyers grant for 2017, we are starting to see great interest once again from the first home buyers market, and our builder and develop partners are responding with some terrific packages.”

New Property Sales Highlights

  • New home and apartment sales in Australia fell in January 2017 by 2.2%
  • The private detached house sales also saw a reduction, by 1.5%
  • Multi-unit private sales compressed by 4.3 per cent in January 2017
  • New house approvals experienced a minor decline of .5% in December 2016

In summary, the new home sales market is in good shape, despite a few states experiencing a decline in the January reporting period, albeit against some very strong months in the later part of 2016 in most states. We would suggest it is helpful to take a more long term view of the current market, when looking at the detailed statistics within this reporting period. When you consider Australia has seen a record long term growth period, it’s always expected that fluctuations will occur. Short term forecasts suggest a healthy period ahead supported by continually strong population growth, impressive house and land value appreciation and ongoing low interest rates.

For those looking to invest or build a new home, we recommend you talk to one of our expert property consultants, who can provide an independent and unbiased opinion for you. Call 1800 184 284 or book a call  now with an expert iBuildNew consultant. With over 20 years experience in the new home building industry they can do some of the leg work for you.


Ben is a passionate home renovator who is forever making improvements around the home and garden


iBuildNew is the market leading aggregator dedicated to residential home construction and land development. As an independent platform, iBuildNew helps Australians identify and compare new home designs, house and land packages and land estates. It’s the smart way home buyers, who are considering a new build, can find the ideal options to match their individual needs. Home building is a big decision, we make sure you get it right.

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