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New home sales jump

New home sales have risen for the third straight month, aided by government grants and low interest rates.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) survey found new home sales increased by 4.2 percent to 8,210 homes.

HIA chief economist Harley Dale said the project home building market gained a lift from the first home owners grant (FHOG) and low interest rates during the first quarter of 2009.

“The first home owners boost for new dwellings is clearly lifting residential building activity and securing jobs within the Australian economy.”

Providing a further boost to the market, loans to first home buyers posted a record 26.9 percent increase in housing approvals in February, according to ABS data.

On a state breakdown, new home sales rose by 15.2 percent in NSW during March, with Victoria up 14.6 percent.

Western Australia rose 7.3 percent, while South Australia and Queensland both recorded falls of 4.6 percent and 16.9 percent respectively.

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