Cost of living pressures remain at the top of the list of worries for consumers heading into the New Year.
Mortgage Choice's annual Consumer Sentiment Survey has found that utility bills, clothing and other rising living costs have proven the biggest concern for households. Acting head of corporate affairs Belinda Williamson said the results show families continue to have a tough time
"Clearly, utility bills and other living costs are biting into Australians’ budgets, with more than half - 55% - of the respondents admitting to dipping into their savings to help make ends meet, and 7% saving more to combat the price hikes," Williamson said.
While Australian households were concerned about their ability to pay bills and nearly half were unsatisfied with their level of personal savings, they displayed optimism about the economy at large. Fifty-six per cent said they were either fairly or very confident about the economy in 2012.
"Year on year confidence in the Australian economy has dipped; however, it is good to see the majority of Australians still see a positive economic outlook for 2012. In fact, of those who plan to make changes to their financial situation next year, 20% of non-mortgage [holders] plan to take out a mortgage and 9% of mortgage holders plan to take out an extra one. Gen Y was the most positive about the economy and buying property," Williamson said.
When buying property, 64% of respondents said they would turn to a mortgage broker for help. The top reasons given for using brokers were their expertise in home loan products and the time saved researching lenders and gathering paperwork.
Cost of living, not rates, presents buyer barrier