Westpac’s consumer sentiment index for July fell 3.2%.
But, in what Westpac chief economist Bill Evans called the “most significant development in this month’s survey” there has been a huge fall in consumer perceptions about whether now is a good time to buy a dwelling — tumbling 16.7% this month.
Here’s Evans take on what it means:
That Index is now at its lowest level since June 2010. The weakest read in this Index came in New South Wales where the Index fell 19% to its lowest level since February 2008 when mortgage interest rates were peaking and there were clear early signs of significant difficulties in the global financial system. It is likely that this sentiment is being driven by affordability concerns and may be signalling a slowdown in the Sydney property market.
But in what might be considered a case of cognitive dissonance, consumers are still expecting prices to rise with Evans saying “Index of House Price Expectations rose by 8.2% in the July survey, including an 8.1% increase in the NSW Index.”