CANBERRA, AAP – New home sales jumped by 15.2 per cent in May, aided by low interest rates and despite the absence of the federal government’s successful HomeBuilder program.

Combined with April, sales were 2.9 per cent higher than the same period in 2019 – prior to the pandemic and the introduction of the HomeBuilder grant scheme, the Housing Industry Association says.

“This solid level of sales in April and May indicates ongoing demand for new detached homes, even in the absence of stimulus,” HIA economist Tom Devitt says.

The HIA new home sales report – a monthly survey of the largest home builders across the nation’s five biggest states – is an indicator of future detached home construction.

The HomeBuilder program officially ended in March, although the deadline to begin construction runs for an additional 12 months.

“A record number of new homes are expected to commence construction in 2021,” Mr Devitt said.

“The low interest rates and confidence in the housing market are continuing to facilitate demand.”

NSW drove the solid result of the last two months more than any other state, with sales in April and May 36.9 per cent higher than at the same time in 2019.

“New South Wales saw the smallest uptake of the HomeBuilder program, but is demonstrating the strongest demand following the end of the program,” Mr Devitt said.

In Western Australia sales were up 26 per cent, with Queensland sales rising four per cent.

But South Australia fell by 4.2 per cent and Victoria declined 16.1 per cent.