By Greg Peel
Mortgage broker Mortgage Choice has today released the results of its annual Consumer Sentiment Survey. In short, Australian consumers are not feeling confident going into 2013 and budgets will again be reined in, however the RBA's easing cycle is firing up renewed interest in property, from both owner/occupiers or, more emphatically, potential investors.
One might argue that the global economic scene has been uncertain, volatile and very worrisome since things started to go awry in late 2007. However the stimulus-fuelled global stock market rally of 2009 provided some hope that the GFC would prove a devastating but rapidly resolvable blip. But as we entered 2010, Greece reared its ugly head and set off the dominoes that became the European financial crisis. By 2011, the US debt situation had grabbed the spotlight and the fiscal cliff" of 2012-13 was created. In between, a slowing China has added to the anxiety.
In 2010, 75% of respondents to the Mortgage Choice sentiment survey were fairly or very confident with regard to the Australian economy. By 2011, that number had plunged to 56%. The 2012 survey shows a further shrinkage down to 51%. Looking at it the other way, only 12.5% of respondents were "worried" about the state of the economy in 2010, 24% became worried by 2011, and 27% are worried today.
What is worrying Australian consumers most about 2012, and thus 2013 ahead?
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