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Victorian first home buyers drive up sales

A surge of house buyers trying to beat the axing of the first home owner bonus in Victoria has lifted new home sales from their record lows. New home sales jumped nationally by 6.9 per cent in April, seasonally-adjusted, after sinking to their worst levels in a decade in March, a Housing Industry Association survey of the country's largest 100 builders shows. The biggest boost to April sales came out of Victoria, where they surged 17.2 per cent after the Baillieu government's recent budget axed handouts to first home buyers. These gave them up to $19,500 in rebates if they purchased a new dwelling under $600,000. The cuts have sparked a rush of new home buyers in Melbourne's suburban housing estates and apartment market seeking to claim the rebate before the June 30 cut-off date. Multi-unit sales were up across the country by 10.3 per cent in the month, the HIA - JELD-WEN survey showed. Sales of detached houses also shot up in Western Australia (9.8 per cent), but grew less slowly in New South Wales (1.8 per cent) off the back of significant falls in the previous month. Detached house sales fell 5.9 per cent in South Australia and 5.5 per cent in Queensland. Slow local government building approvals and smaller volumes of homes sold overall suggest national new home building is heading to a recessionary level in 2012; despite the most recent rise, HIA economist Harley Dale said. "The figures will add to calls for the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates even further on June 6". Source: www.theage.com.au/business/property