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Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Housing boom lifts consumer confidence
More people are saying now is a good time to buy a house. Photo: Fiona Morris
A measure of consumer sentiment has rebounded as rising home prices made people feel better about their finances, while making them more confident about splashing out on big ticket items.
The survey of 1,200 people by the Melbourne Institute and Westpac Bank showed its index of consumer sentiment rose 1.9 per cent in November, following a 2.1 per cent dip in October and a jump of 4.7 per cent in September.
That left the index up 5.8 per cent on November last year.
Consumer sentiment at a three-year high.
"After a modest fall last month the index has returned to be back near its previous peaks in 2013 registered in March and September. These are the highest reads since the July-December period in 2010," said Westpac chief economist Bill Evans.
"It is encouraging that the index has returned to these levels."
Respondents were more optimistic about their own finances, with that index surging 13.3 per cent in November. That came even as people seemed to be more worried about the future, with the measure of finances over the next 12 months dropping 7.9 per cent.
The survey's measure of economic conditions over the next 12 months edged up 0.4 per cent, while that for conditions over the next five years rose 0.5 per cent.
In a promising sign for the Christmas shopping season, the index for whether it was a good time to buy a major household item rose 4.4 per cent to a strong 142.8.
That confidence may in part have reflected rising home prices and their boost to household wealth. The index of house price expectations rose by 3.1 per cent, to be 23 per cent up on the year.
There was also a rise in the "Time to Buy a Dwelling" index of 4.2 per cent including a very strong increase in New South Wales.
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