The latest property news video from Kevin Turner | 17th February

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The Housing Industry Association is encouraging the Federal Government to embrace the construction industry as a way to restore growth in the 2014 budget. Chief Executive of the HIA, Graham Wolfe, says May’s budget should contain measures that promote growth in new home building.

The HIA believes this should include a Productivity Commission Inquiry into the cost of housing, increased incentives for employers of apprentices, and continued funding for the National Rental Affordability Scheme. The call comes on the back of a Masters Builders survey showing increased confidence in the ability of construction to replace mining as Australia’s economic powerhouse. Also the HIA has also announced that new home sales have recorded their first annual increase in five years too. The industry body says that in 2013 new home sales climbed 14.4 per, representing the first year of growth since 2008.

The HIA says this trend shows a healthy profile of recovery throughout 2013, and the key now will be for these improved levels to expand into 2014. South Australia recorded significant improvement with an increase of 22.5 per cent for private detached house sales in December last year, which is some welcome good news for the southerners.

And we stay in South Australia where there is news that new legislation has been introduced into state parliament to help protect buyers there. The South Australian Government says new laws will give consumers a greater level of protection from “dodgy practices” and create more confidence in the real estate profession. One such measure outlaws ‘bait pricing’ where agents hook in buyers with unrealistically low price indications for properties. Acting Premier John Rau says that from now on, agents who engage in such practices can face penalties of up to $20,000 or one year in prison.