Sales of detached houses drove new dwelling sales higher in August. The Housing Industry Association’s August survey showed a seasonally-adjusted 2.3% increase in new home sales during the month, thanks to a 3.5% increase in house sales, while sales of multi-units fell 1.7%.

Official ABS data showed the number of buildings approved during August fell a seasonally-adjusted 6.9% in the month, after a drop in apartment approvals.

“It is becoming increasingly apparent that total sales activity has already peaked this year, but today’s update shows that sales are remaining elevated,” HIA economist Diwa Hopkins said. “For multi-units, May 2015 is shaping up as the peak in monthly sales, with declines occurring in each of the subsequent months.”

Multi-unit sales in August were down from their May level by 8.5%. While detached home sales were up 3.5% in August, they are 5.1% below their peak in April last year.