(Adds CEO quote, context, and detail of sector results)
SYDNEY Feb 22 Australian diversified real
estate investment trust Stockland Corp Ltd posted a 7.8
percent rise in underlying earnings after record turnover in its
residential business, especially from the booming east coast.
Stockland said funds from operations, which it added
replaces underlying profit as its primary earnings metric, rose
to A$369 million ($283.4 million). The company said it was
tracking toward the upper end of its guidance for FFO growth per
security of 5-7 percent.
"The business is benefiting from continued strong price
growth on the eastern seaboard and is strongly positioned for
the full year," Stockland said in a statement to the Australian
Australia's real estate market has been on a tear since
mid-2012, and prices continue to rise, especially in the
nation's most populous cities of Sydney and Melbourne.
Across the country home prices grew at an annual pace of
10.7 percent in January, and 16 percent in Sydney, property
consultant CoreLogic showed earlier this month, boosting the
fortunes of landlords across the country.
Chief Executive Mark Steinert told Reuters by phone that
although some project delays meant Sydney sales had lagged,
favourable market conditions in Queensland and Melbourne pushed
overall residential settlements to record levels.
"The most profound thing that we're seeing is clear evidence
of a broadening of economic growth in Australia," he said.
Yet there are some hints that the soaring market may finally
be approaching a peak. On a statutory basis, Stockland's profit
was flat, as recent big gains booked from property revaluations
Australia's Dexus Property Group reported a fall in
statutory profit, as its gains from revaluations were more
modest than a year ago.
And the number of new building approvals and residential
properties listed for sale are both down from where they were a
Nevertheless the market remains strong, and underpinned a 17
percent property rise from developer Mirvac Group last
week, while on Tuesday the nation's biggest retail landlord,
shopping centre giant Scentre Group, lifted its
full-year earnings 10.4 percent thanks to extra revenue from
Stockland also announced an interim dividend of 12.6 cents,
higher than 12.2 cents a year ago.
($1 = 1.3023 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Sandra