The HIA New Home Sales report, a survey of Australia's largest volume builders, shows that, seasonally-adjusted, new home sales increased by 4.2 per cent in January.
That reflects a four per cent increase in detached house sales and a 4.9 per cent lift in multi-unit sales.
Over the three months to January, new home sales increased by 10 per cent, although sales volumes were still 6.4 per cent lower compared to the same period a year earlier, HIA chief economist Harley Dale said on Thursday.
Mr Dale said the upward trend over three months was crucial given the considerable weakness experienced through most of 2012.
"Even now, the volume of detached house sales is not much more than half the long-term average," Mr Dale said in a statement.
"There is a long way to go to see evidence that new home building will reach the levels the economy requires as the contribution from resources-related investment wanes."
Over the three months to January, detached house sales increased by 23.7 per cent in New South Wales, 13.2 per cent in South Australia, 10.8 per cent in Victoria, and 7.6 per cent in Western Australia.
But they fell 3.1 per cent in Queensland.