The market for new home building has lifted in all major states except Victoria as buyers rush to capitalise on the Commonwealth Government’s HomeBuilder program.

Releasing its New Home Sales report based on a survey of the nation’s largest home builders, Housing Industry Association said the volumes of new homes sold across Australia’s five largest states increased by 3.6 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis to reach almost 6,000.

Over the three months to August, new home sales have now risen by 61 percent compared with the abnormally low period over the three months to May.

Across the states (five largest only), sales rose by 19.1 percent, 11.7 percent, 11.4 percent and 7.4 percent across Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia respectively.

In Victoria, new home sales dropped by 14.7 percent as Stage 4 COVID restrictions saw the closure of display homes and land sales offices in Melbourne.

HIA Chief Economist Tim Reardon said HomeBuilder was likely to underpin stronger conditions in new home construction during the December Quarter.

“New Home Sales data released today confirms that HomeBuilder will support building activity and protect jobs in the December 2020 quarter,” Reardon said.

“The improvement in the number of New Home Sales over the most recent three months will see a lift in the number of homes under construction in the December quarter, compared to what would have been the case without HomeBuilder.”

“If the momentum from HomeBuilder is maintained, more slabs will be poured before the end of the year which will create significant employment opportunities across the economy and not just in the home building sector.”

Whilst the overall data is encouraging, the numbers underscore challenges in Victoria as Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne have seen the closure of land sales offices and display centres.

That has raised concern as these facilities are slated to remain closed under the state’s reopening roadmap until at least November – meaning that the industry will largely miss out on the spring sales season.

In an open letter to the Victorian Government, several major industry associations argued that display homes and land sale offices should reopen by appointment only under COVIDSafe conditions during the second reopening step which is slated for September 28 if COVID case targets are met.