New home sales rise

Real Estate

New home sales recorded their first annual rise in five years, rounding out a solid year for the Australian property market. 

Economic news
The latest Housing Industry Association figures shows new home sales lifted by more than 14 per cent in 2013, marking the first year of growth since 2008.
HIA economist Diwa Hopkins says the broader trend throughout 2013 shows a healthy profile of recovery, with encouraging underlying details.
Meantime, data analytics and credit information company Veda Group revealed data showing mortgage enquiries lifted by 15 per cent on year.

FNN spoke to Veda General Manager of Consumer Risk Angus Luffman who says mortgage demand continued to grow throughout calendar 2013.
Mr Luffman says Veda’s data indicates the rising mortgage demand is investor led, with first home buyer enquiries slipping.

Auction results
Looking at this week’s auction results across Australian capital cities - Sydney recorded a 75 per cent clearance rate from 16 properties for auction, Melbourne cleared 46 per cent from 68 properties, Brisbane had a 26 per cent clearance rate from 23 properties listed and Adelaide cleared 52 per cent from 42 reported auctions. 
Commercial property sector
Challenger Diversified Property Group (ASX:CDI) has posted a net profit of $15.2 million, down from the $20.8 million net profit reported in the previous corresponding period. The group says net profit after tax was hit by investment property fair value adjustments of $9 million for the period including incentives, capital expenditure and straight-lining. Fund manager Trevor Hardie reaffirmed the group’s full-year normalised earnings guidance of 22.3 cents per unit and distribution guidance of 18.5 cent per unit. Mr Hardie says the company remains focused on de-risking its future lease expiry profile to continue to grow earnings and distribution. Challenger will pay an interim dividend of 9.2 cents.
REA Group’s Limited (ASX:REA) first half net profit has climbed to $70.7 million, after the company shifted its strategy to meet specific market needs. Managing Director and CEO Greg Ellis says the company saw where the property advertising market was headed and made the decision to move from subscription to depth products. He says the strategy is delivering excellent growth and returns for shareholders. Revenue in the six months to December 31 was $209.4 million, a 30 per cent increase on the same period last year. The group will pay a fully-franked interim dividend of 22 cents.