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Australia’s housing sector has called on the reserve bank to deliver a 50 basis point interest rate cut after a survey showed new home sales have fallen to their lowest level in more than a decade.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA), which represents the residential building industry, says new home sales dropped 9.4 per cent, seasonally adjusted, in March 2012, their lowest level in more than 10 years.

Multi-unit sales slumped 6.4 per cent over the same period.

HIA chief economist Harley Dale called on the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to deliver a 50 basis point interest rate cut at its board meeting on Tuesday.

An AAP survey of 16 economists on Friday showed all expected the RBA to cut the cash rate 25 basis points, to 4.00 per cent, this week.

However, Mr Dale said a larger cut was needed to revive the housing sector.

"The bank needs to send a clear signal that it is back on the case of assisting an economy that is clearly weaker than it anticipated in 2012," said Harley Dale.

"It is not too late to turn the situation around and prevent new housing from revisiting a GFC (global financial crisis) low.

"Interest rate cuts, while no panacea, can provide substantial assistance in restoring confidence and activity."

The survey of Australia’s 100 largest builders found Queensland suffered the biggest decline with new home sales down 15.3 per cent, followed by Western Australia, down 12 per cent, and New South Wales, down 9.7 per cent.

Story source: http://finance.ninemsn.com.au

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