Sunday, March 13, 2011

Affordability and the Cost of Living in South East Queensland, Australia

by Tracie Hocart, Residential Property Solutions

Affordability, Cost of Living, GFC, Resources Boom, skills shortages, budgets, cheap holidays, strong Aussie Dollar, infrastructure spending, under supply of housing – these are just some of the phrases appearing frequently in the media today. And, I’m sure it’s not just isolated to Australia. In fact, throughout the world, countries are going through a time where cost of living, affordability and the health of world economies are big news. This is no surprise given that we are all continuing to ride out the last waves of the Global Financial Crisis – some doing better than others.
Since the GFC, consumers in Australia have changed their habits. They have had to. Banks have tightened their lending policies for individuals, and more so, for businesses. Individuals and families have started to save. Prior to that consumer spending was at significantly high levels. Everyone wanted luxury and spent to get it.

Retailers here have really felt the pinch, with less consumers opening their wallets. Competition in this sector is fierce. Not only are retailers forced to sell products at increasing discounts they are also experiencing the trend of many consumers shopping on line to purchase these goods. This is fantastic news for consumers. In fact, this has meant many consumers are not prepared to pay full price for anything. We are now armed with the knowledge on how to get a bargain and where to go to get that bargain.

In Australia, we are also experiencing a resources boom, the envy of many countries in the world. We are seeing the Chinese showing a lot of interest in investing here, and of course, in our resources. This is part of the reason that our economy has been so robust in the face of the GFC. Unlike many of the world’s economies, we were fortunate to ride out the GFC without slipping into a recession. Another reason behind this has been the government’s stimulus package that included accelerated spending on large infrastructure projects, and also consumer spending incentives.

Our housing sector has taken a bit of battering during the last two years. Prior to this, residential property was climbing in value, and outpacing other investments...

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