Banking data shows more Australians are reluctant to enter the domestic market

SYDNEY, July 19 (Xinhua) — Australians are becoming increasingly cautious about buying their own homes, according to new data released by one of the country’s largest banks.

Findings from the National Australia Bank (NAB) released on Monday showed that just 18 per cent of consumers surveyed between April and June believed it was a “good time” to enter the domestic market.

The quarterly figures, which coincided with a series of interest rate hikes beginning in May, were the lowest since the bank began compiling such statistics in 2020.

Coupled with buyers’ reluctance, the survey showed fewer Australians were willing to invest in renovating their homes with figures at 24 per cent compared to 32 per cent in the previous quarter.

The mood was similarly hesitant when it came to getting a mortgage with the figures falling to 19 per cent from 27 per cent the previous quarter.

Australia’s central bank has raised the interest rate three times since May to 1.35 percent, leading to higher mortgage prices and putting pressure, with rising inflation, on people’s household spending. .

The survey showed the numbers fluctuated across the country, possibly reflecting the mixed fortunes of states during the years affected by the pandemic.

Western Australia (WA), for example, was less affected by COVID-19 during the first two years than the eastern states of Queensland, New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria.

WA’s latest quarterly homebuying confidence stats were 24 per cent, down from 32 per cent the previous quarter, while Queensland’s figures fell from 20 per cent to just 14 per cent.

Despite these downward trends, NAB homeownership executive Andy Kerr believed the situation would improve quickly, saying current conditions are opening up new opportunities for buyers.

“New flexible working arrangements have allowed shoppers to shop in suburbs that in the past would not have worked for full-time commutes into the city,” he said.

Kerr also said that NAB economists predicted a drop in house prices of about 18 percent over the next 18 months “which would take us back to January 2021 levels.”

“With a combination of falling home prices and the recent launch of a first-time homebuyer subsidy, it will renew optimism for first-time homebuyers…so despite rising rates, we still see consistent intent from people looking to buy, even if sentiment shows us buyers can wait a bit longer.”

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