5:00 PM Sydney – New home sales in Australia increased 4.2% in March but the industry struggled to attract new buyers as median home price reached $485,000. Housing industry estimated construction activities declined for the 34th month in a row.
Australian stocks scaled back after three-day gains and new home sales increased in March.
The ASX 200 index slipped 25 or 0.5% to 5,166.20 and the broader All Ordinaries fell 24.70 to 5,143.90.
Australian dollar closed unchanged at $1.036 against the U.S. dollar and in stock trading turnover dropped to 537 million worth $3.4 billion.
Gloomy Housing Market News Continues
New home sales in March increased 4.2% and single family home sales increased 3.9% after rising 4% in February and multi-family sales soared 5.6% after falling 11% in the previous month.
The data was released in a detailed report by the Housing Industry Association and the report noted that taxes and fees and levies account for 40% of the total cost new home building.
Separately, RP Data- Rismark Home Value Index reversed its gains in the first three months and declined in April by 0.5% to $485,000 median price.
The index was up 2.8% in the first three months to March.
The association also estimated that Australia will build 25,000 less new homes than a decade ago in 2013 and building and construction has contracted for the 34th month in a row.
Stocks in Review
Origin Energy Limited increased 1% to $12.20 after Managing Director Grant King confirmed that its $24.7 billion joint venture is on track to produce LNG at its joint venture in Queensland by June 2015 despite the recent bout of bad weather.
Rio Tinto fell 77 cents to $55.03 and BHP slipped 53 cents to $32.17. Fortescue Metals Group lowered 2 cents to $3.48.
Alacer Gold Corp reaffirmed its full-year gold production outlook between 330,000 and 365,000 ounces.
Woodside Petroleum down 38 cents to $37.18 after the board approved 63 cents a share dividend payable on May 29.
Santos slumped 17 cents to $12.18 and Kingsgate declined 7 cents $2.09 and Whitehaven Coal slid 5 cents to $1.90.
David Jones Limited dropped 7 cents to $2.91 and Breville Group down 4 cents to $6.94. Billabong closed unchanged at 47.5 cents.
Woolworths fell 17 cents to $36.24. Kathmandu surged 19 cents or 10.1% to $2.07.
Myer Holdings Limited decreased 4% lower to $3.05 after CEO Bernie Brooks said that the recent government proposal to fund the national disability insurance plan with annual $350 per person will hurt its sales.
Harvey Norman declined 10 cents to $2.90 after the furniture retailer said third quarter sales increased 0.6% to $1.28 billion.
Kathmandu Holdings Limited gained after the outdoors retailer said sales in the third quarter increased 13%.