Aussies are getting better at dealing with debt

Elizabeth Barry 28 January 2016

HandsOn

Households are starting 2016 on the right financial foot, the latest data shows.

Results from the latest St. George-Melbourne Institute Household Financial Conditions Report show that more Australians are owning property and paying down their debts, paving their way for a more secure financial future.

The number of Aussies owning a property or switching from renting to home ownership are at their highest levels since 2010. One of the factors influencing that has been generally favourable market conditions, along with lower interest rates. (The official cash rate has been unchanged for over six months, which has kept interest rates on most new loans lower as well.)

Almost half of those surveyed (45%) had paid off their mortgages, and 47.3% reported having cleared their debts entirely. Renting numbers have also decreased to 15%, the lowest level recorded since the survey started in 2001.

While the report found Aussies are saving up to 4% more to buy a home, the number of people with HECS debt from university studies had decreased, suggesting that people have paid off their university debts and are now looking towards other investments.

The bank said that the results show a spring in the step of Australian households. "Fewer respondents are running into debt and fewer respondents are drawing on their savings," it said.

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