New home sales up for first time in five years; US Fed cuts bond-buying by $10 billion: Midday Roundup

New home sales were up 14.4% in 2013, the first growth in five years, figures from the Housing Industry Association of Australia reveal.

In the final quarter of 2013, aggregate new home sales increased by 6.3%, or seasonally adjusted at 0.4%. Seasonally adjusted, total new home sales eased by 0.4 per cent in December 2013, which the HIA said relates to a 6.6% decrease in multi-unit sales. Detached house sales increased by 0.9%. 

HIA economist Diwa Hopkins said new homes sales “hit a low ebb during 2012”.

“The key now will be for these improved sales levels to expand further in the year ahead,” she said.

In the final quarter of 2013, detached house sales increased by 50.9% in South Australia, 12.3% in Queensland, 3.5% in New South Wales and 2.3% in Western Australia. In Victoria, detached house sales fell by 9.5%.

US Fed cuts bond-buying by $10 billion

The United States Federal Reserve is set to cut the size of its bond-buying programme by $US10 billion to $65 billion.

It has left its interest rates at record low levels.

“In light of the cumulative progress toward maximum employment and the improvement in the outlook for labour market conditions, the committee decided to make a further measured reduction in the pace of its asset purchases,” the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement.

“If incoming information broadly supports the committee’s expectation of ongoing improvement in labor market conditions and inflation moving back toward its longer-run objective, the committee will likely reduce the pace of asset purchases in further measured steps at future meetings.”

Shares fall on open

Aussie shares have opened down this morning, after international markets responded to news yesterday the United States Federal Reserve would further tapering stimulus measures.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 46.9 points at 11:54am AEDT. Overnight the Dow Jones closed down 1.19%, 189.77 points lower at 15,738.79.

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