Australian households more financially stressed but not from mortgage repayments: ING Direct Wellbeing index

Financial stress levels are rising among Australian households despite low interest rates, according to the latest financial Wellbeing Index compiled by ING Direct.

The index declined from 108.2 in the first quarter of 2013 to 10.7.8 in the second quarter with financial wellbeing declining in every star except for Western Australia.

Around 83% of the 1,030 households surveyed between 4 July and 9 July 2013 reported that living costs had increased by an average of $43 per week over the past 12 months.

However, comfort with home loans continues to enjoy the highest reading across all six financial indicators with a second quarter score of 5.73 – a slight improvement on the first quarter reading of 5.67 and a further advance on the fourth quarter of 2012 of 5.64.

Responses were recorded on a scale from 1 (‘veryuncomfortable’) to 7(‘very comfortable’).

Mortgage comfort levels are highest in NSW/ACT (5.75) followed by WA (5.58), South Australian (5.44), Victoria (5.21) and Queensland (5.10).

A further sign of mortgage comfortableness, 43% of households surveyed said they were ahead with their loan, up from 39% in the first quarter of the year.

More than half of WA respondents (51%) said they were ahead on their mortgage repayments.

Howerver, long term assets including housing investments continue to be a weak spot in household financial wellbeing.

One in three (32%) households are uncomfortable with their long term investments with the reading on this measure dropping  slightly from 3.5 in the first quarter to 3.48.

The results of the survey also demonstrate the current savings culture with one in four (26%) getting more pleasure from saving than treating themselves to a special purchase (21%). 

And 17% would rather pay off debt than buy gifts for friends or family (10%).

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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