Mortgage Choice annual Consumer Sentiment Survey findings
Rising utility costs, uncertainty over employment and a lack of confidence in the Australian Government will make 2013 a year of frugal living for Queenslanders, according to the ninth annual QLD Consumer Sentiment Survey from Mortgage Choice.
The online survey conducted by Australia's largest independently-operated mortgage broker uncovered the major concerns; financial plans; housing market outlook; and more, of 199 QLD consumers.
The state-specific survey findings released today found that those living in QLD will tighten their belts in 2013 by reducing their spending and looking for other avenues to save money.
Local Mortgage Choice mortgage broker, Melissa Jackson said, “Our annual Consumer Sentiment Survey has found that Queensland residents are not feeling overly confident about 2013, mostly due to external factors beyond their control. As a result, locals are taking a more frugal approach to their finances and are working towards proactive steps to change their situation for the better.”
The survey found that rising utility bills, job security and the economic management at a Federal Government level were the greatest concerns for most Queenslanders (each at 15% of respondents). Rounding out the top five concerns were other costs of living such as clothing, insurance, etc. (12%) and the state of the global economy (11%).
To cope with the rising cost of living, more than half (59%) of those living in QLD claim they have dipped into their savings to help make ends meet.
“The much publicised increase in the cost of utilities seems to be hitting every one hard and this survey suggests that those in Queensland are not feeling any more optimistic about their ability to meet these costs in 2013. With job security and the economic outlook also weighing on their minds it is understandable that Queenslanders are tightening their belts,” said Melissa.
“I encourage those who are feeling the pinch to look at practical ways to positively impact their financial outlook for the year ahead, such as health checking your home loan to see if you can get a better deal or by making changes to your daily spending habits.” More than half (58%) of those surveyed in QLD plan to make changes to their financial situation in 2013, by reviewing their budget, cutting back on spending and/or reviewing their home loan.
Melissa continued, “While confidence levels are fairly low, it is good news that people are seeking to take greater control of their finances and to change aspects that are within their control such as reducing unnecessary outgoings and ensuring they are getting a competitive home loan deal.”
Confidence in the economy
When gauging their confidence in the Australian economy for 2013, the findings show: 46% of QLD respondents said that they were fairly or very confident (compared to 56% in 2011); 30% were worried about the state of the economy (compared to 30% in 2011); and 24% were neither worried nor confident (compared to 15% in 2011).
“Confidence in the Australian economy for the year ahead has dipped slightly year-on-year but it is pleasing to see almost half of all those surveyed living in Queensland still see a positive economic outlook for 2013. In fact, 63% of the state said that the financial market turmoil has influenced them to save more, which is encouraging for their long term financial plans,” said Melissa.
Making financial changes in the coming year
When asked how they feel about their level of personal savings, 42% of respondents were unsatisfied. At the same time last year, 52% felt this way. This year, 29% claimed they were satisfied (on par with 2011, at 29%) and 30% were neutral (compared to 19% last year).
More than one third (37%) of those surveyed were saving money to protect themselves against unexpected changes to their finances, 31% were saving for a holiday, a further 31% were saving for day to day living expenses, 26% were saving for unexpected changes to their job situation and 23% were saving money to repay their mortgage sooner.
“What is apparent from the research is that people are building up their reserves so they are better positioned to cope with unexpected changes in their financial situation. Spending on holidays is important to many Australians so we would expect that savings will be made by cutting out more frivolous purchases such as entertainment, and annual events including Christmas,” Melissa said.
Property market confidence in 2013
Almost one quarter (22%) of those surveyed in QLD claim they will be more likely to buy property in 2013 if interest rates continue their downward trend. Over the longer term, 38% of people intend to buy a property in the next two years. Of these property buyers, a staggering 37% will be looking to buy their next home, 33% will be first homebuyers, and 30% will be investors.
“Investor confidence is very good news. With interest rates the lowest they have been for some time and property prices remaining subdued in parts of the country it is clear from the research that many investors feel that this presents a good buying environment in the state of QLD,” said Melissa.
More than half (52%) of the Queenslanders surveyed believe the Federal Government is not doing enough to encourage affordable housing, 27% said it is doing nothing, 12% were undecided, 9% believe it is doing enough and only 1% feel the Government is doing everything to encourage affordability.
Other key QLD statistics
Rental squeeze: 31% in QLD feel tighter rental vacancy rates and/or rising rents is having an effect on property prices in their state and on them personally.
Property prices: 31% believe QLD property prices will increase over the next 12 months, 20% believe they will decrease, 35% believe prices will remain stable and 15% don’t know.
The property purchase process: When asked how well informed respondents were about the property purchase process, 22% were well informed, 33% know the essentials, 34% have some idea and 12% have no idea.
The switch to fixed: 45% of mortgage holders will consider switching to a fixed term loan when lenders’ fixed rates fall below 5%.
Using a mortgage broker: 60% of QLD respondents will consider using a mortgage broker in the future and the top three reasons were: 1) Mortgage brokers save me from researching a range of lenders and loans myself, 2) Professional mortgage brokers are experts in mortgage products, and 3) Mortgage brokers do most of the paperwork and running around.
Visit Melissa Jackson’s website at www.mortgagechoice.com.au/melissa.jackson or call 0405 315 227.
For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:
0405 315 227
About the survey
Market research company Nine Rewards was commissioned by Mortgage Choice to conduct the 2012 Consumer Sentiment Survey. The survey was completed by 1,025 Australians in late November 2012. Note, the figures have been rounded to the nearest whole percentage point.
About Mortgage Choice
Australia’s largest independently-operated mortgage broker, Mortgage Choice has sourced a home loan for well over 350,000 people since 1992. It works with all manner of property finance borrowers via hundreds of franchises.
The company writes almost one in every 20 home loans in Australia by providing professional guidance on, and choice of, products offered by an extensive panel of leading lenders. Many of its brokers provide a broader service, helping customers source commercial and personal loans, asset finance, deposit bonds and providing referrals for risk and general insurances.
Uniquely, Mortgage Choice pays its franchisees the same commission rate for home loans they write, regardless of rate paid by the lender a new customer selects, working in the customer’s best interests to tailor a solution to them.
The company has no balance sheet or funding risk, and consistently delivers strong profits and attractive yields. It listed on the ASX in 2004 (MOC) and is a member of the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA).
Recent recognition: 2012, 2011 Australian Broking Awards Major Brokerage of the Year – Franchise; 2012 Australian Broking Awards Best Training and Education; 2012 Australian Broking Awards Best Ethical/Social Responsibility Program; No.1 on The Adviser magazine’s 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 Top 25 Brokerages list; 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006 and 2005 MFAA Awards Retail Aggregator/Originator of the Year; 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008 10 Thousand FEET Top 10 Franchise list; 2010 Forbes Asia-Pacific Best Under A Billion list. Mortgage Choice holds an Australian Credit Licence: no. 382869, issued by ASIC.
Visit www.mortgagechoice.com.au or call customer service on 13 MORTGAGE.