Business conditions improved in September, recording an increase in the areas of trading (up 6 index points), profitability (up 2 index points) and employment (up 8 index points), according to the September NAB Monthly Business Survey.
The increased confidence has built on the gains of last month and is now well above the trough in March, after the pandemic hit.
Conditions are now above average in WA, SA and QLD, pointing to an ongoing recovery in those states – and though NSW remains negative, it also improved in the month.
The report says: “Confidence rose in most industries in the month, though the gains in retail and recreational & personal services were marginal; and finance, business & property services was unchanged in the month. Confidence is now neutral or positive in all industries except retail and the services industries – personal & recreation and finance, business & property services.”
September saw a strong turn around in housing market sentiment – consumer confidence increased, new listings rose and six of the eight capital cities recorded a rise in home values over the month, according to CoreLogic’s Hedonic Home Value Index.
The home value index shows a 0.1% fall in dwelling values nationally, the lowest in three months. The rate of decline across Sydney’s market has been consistently easing since July and the remaining capital cities (except Melbourne) have all delivered some level of growth. Darwin leads with its prices up 1.6% in September, followed by Adelaide (up 0.8%) and Brisbane (up 0.5%).
The combined regional areas were up 0.4%, with growth recorded in the regional areas of NSW, Qld, SA and Tasmania.
“The aggregate effect of low mortgage rates, low inventory levels, government incentives and improving consumer sentiment seems to be outweighing the negative economic shock brought about by the pandemic,” says Tim Lawless, CoreLogic head of research.
Home loan customers may be able to borrow up to $70,000 more under changes to the consumer credit laws, says Canstar group executive of financial services Steve Mickenbecker.
The changes would see banks revert to a more relaxed approach to living expenses when assessing a loan. There would also be less paperwork, speeding up the time it takes to have a loan approved. Based on an average income of $80,000 and a 20% deposit, a residential property buyer could potentially borrow $510,000 rather than $440,000, says Mickenbecker.
During the Hayne Enquiry into the finance sector, the banks were castigated for their methods in assessing a client’s ability to repay a loan, relying on simplified approaches rather than a thorough investigation. The latest changes are designed to protect consumers against taking on a debt they cannot afford while providing credit into the economy at a critical time.
The changes would put upwards pressure on house prices by creating more demand.