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An improvement in land sales during the three months to June 30 suggest that Australia's housing sector could be on the path to recovery.
A residential land report from the Housing Industry of Australia (HIA) and RP Data showed a rise of 23.3 per cent in land sales in the June quarter 2012, and a rise of 29.7 per cent from the same period last year.
HIA chief economist Harley Dale said that, short term factors aside, it was a positive sign for the housing sector.
"Growth is from a low base and the result is exaggerated by a policy-induced pull forward in land sales in New South Wales and Victoria," he said.
"Nevertheless, land sales did rise in all six state capitals and in a majority of regional areas and that is an encouraging result.
"Residential land sales signal the prospect of a turnaround in new housing starts from the December 2012/March 2013 quarters, which has been HIA's long-held forecast."
He added that government needed to take action to ensure the sector continued to improve, as further rate cuts from the Reserve Bank of Australia would not be enough.
RP Data research director Tim Lawless said it appeared that consumer sentiment towards housing was improving.
"Changes in state government policies have clearly drawn buyer demand forward, confirming just how sensitive the market can be to government intervention," he said.
"While the number of land sales has increased across every state capital over the June quarter, the significant rise recorded in June can largely be attributed to an increase in activity across New South Wales where land sales were up 51 per cent, and in Victoria which recorded a 47 per cent surge in sales."
Based on information provided by and with the permission of the Western Australian Land Information Authority (2013) trading as Landgate.