September financial wrap up
September signalled the start of spring and rather predictably, property news was at the forefront of the month’s financial news. That aside, there was a bunch of consumer-facing news that hit the headlines, Mozo launched its Experts Choice awards for insurance and despite the warmer weather, energy continued to be a contentious topic.
Catch up on all of the biggest talking points from a super-September of Aussie finance news, below.
All things the Aussie housing market
Where do we start on the Aussie property market? Spring selling season was off to a stuttering start in Sydney as clearance rates struggled to reach the heights that they had in August and while Melbourne fared better, the market appears to be cooling.
September saw Mozo release some pretty interesting news regarding the, not-so mythical, Bank of Mum and Dad. The data showed that 29% of Aussie parents are helping their children get into the competitive Aussie property market providing a whopping $65.3 billion worth of assistance, making it the fifth biggest home loan lender in the country! If you want to read up on rest of the results you can check out our Key Findings report, here.
It turns out that spring may be the perfect time to refinance your home loan. Not only are a bunch of home loan lenders offering cash incentives for refinancing, but September also saw a raft of cuts to both fixed and variable home loan rates. The biggest news came in the realm of fixed rate home loans with Mozo data revealing that 1 in 3 lenders made cuts to its fixed mortgage rates including bcu that stunned the market by dropping its 5 year fixed rate by a whopping 95 basis points to a market leading, 3.50%.
And Aussies are looking to make the most of these changes when it comes to refinancing for a home renovation. Rather than let go of their prized property, more and more Aussies are renovating their existing home with new dwelling construction down, according to industry-body, Housing Industry Association.
The cost of being a consumer
Spring’s first month also revealed a host of our biggest lifestyle costs. Mozo’s much anticipated, annual Cost of Lifestyle report was released and it showed that six of our top ten lifestyle expenses were food or beverage related, totalling an annual spend that is expected grow to $47 billion by the end of 2017. The data also showed that, despite spending more on drinks down at the pub and less on coffee than we did in 2016, Aussies still prefer a cappuccino to a craft beer, just.
Arguably the biggest piece of finance news was in fact, a good one for Aussie consumers after CBA abolished ATM fees, a move that was swiftly followed by the other big four banks. Aside from avoiding that pesky $2 ATM fee, consumers will also pay less when using their piece of plastic in places like newsagents and cafes. As of September 1, small businesses no longer have the discretion to impose excessive credit card surcharges which means more money in your pocket.
Finally, Woolies customers can rejoice after news that the Aussie supermarket giant will allow its customers to earn and redeem rewards points using the popular digital platform, Apple Pay as soon as next month.
Insurance is important!
Insurance news didn’t dominate September’s headlines but there were still some pretty big takeaways to come from this month. First of all, Roy Morgan’s General Insurance Industry Currency Report, revealed that 78% of us don’t compare the market when our general insurance policies are up for renewal, despite the obvious savings available when you do.
If you’re feeling a little silly for not comparing insurance policies, a good launching pad for your insurance research is using Mozo’s Experts Choice awards for both home and car insurance. Released midway through September, the award winners included all the usual suspects such as Apia, Allianz, GIO and NRMA, but supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths also entered the winners circle for low cost home insurance.
Arguments over our energy crisis
With the weather warming up, you might think that news surrounding Aussie energy might have subsided, but it hasn’t. With Aussies barely getting to grips with the hefty bills from the winter price hike, the discussion quickly turned into how we’re going to survive what’s sure to be a sweltering summer. Early in the month, AEMO forecasted statewide blackouts for South Australia and Victoria, prompting the Victorian government to offer cashback incentives to consumers prepared to reduce their power usage during peak times, offering potential savings of up to $500.
There was also some good news for energy customers a little further up the east coast with the NSW government rolling out its “most comprehensive energy relief package”. The package includes improved discounts for you if you use energy efficient appliances and rebates on energy bills for concession card holders and families who receive the Family Tax Benefit.
If you want to make sure you’re getting the best value out of your energy plan before summer rolls around, use Mozo’s state-by-state Compare & Save Energy tool.