RTTNews - In Australia, new home sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.5% in April, due to a 1.1% rise in sales of detached houses, the Housing Industry Association said Monday. New home sales increased for the fourth consecutive month in April, and was also 22% higher than the low point reached in December last year, the HIA said.

The combination of low interest rates and the $21,000 First Home Boost have lifted prospects for the housing industry, which is expected to convert to a recovery in home building activity from the June quarter of 2009, HIA Chief Economist, Dr Harley Dale said.

The leading indicators point to housing as an emerging bright spot in the economy.

The extension of the First Home Boost announced in the Budget would provide further momentum for industry activity ahead of the stimulus from the additional funding for social housing, the economist added.

During the month, sales of detached houses increased 3%, while sales of apartments and units dropped 5.6%.

The impact of the credit crunch and wariness on the part of investors is still weighing heavily on the apartment market in mid-2009, said Harley Dale.

The HIA now forecasts new home starts to increase by 6,900 or 11% in the second half of 2009.

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