Home buying intentions hit record high!

Says two year old index. Via CBA’s consumer intentions survey:

Home Buying Spending Intentions

  • Home buying intentions moved higher again in December and now sit at a record high
  • HSI readings indicate that the pick up in dwelling prices in H2 2019 may continue into H1 2020
  • The turn in the HSI is also a sign that the economic drag from falling residential construction may be nearing an end

Retail Spending Intentions

  • Retail spending intentions are fluctuating from month to month around an essentially flat trend
  • This flat trend remains a disappointing outcome relative to the stimulus applied via interest rate cuts, tax rebates and the turn up in dwelling prices
  • The zig-zag pattern indicates that the “Black Friday” event shifted spending from December into November without necessarily boosting spending over all

Motor Vehicles Spending Intentions

  • Buying intentions for motor vehicles remain soft overall
  • But the slow improvement evident in recent months accelerated sharply on the latest readings
  • This outcome is significant because Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) research has revealed that the form of spending most sensitive to changes in wealth is motor vehicles

Entertainment Spending Intentions

  • Entertainment spending intentions are improving at a respectable pace
  • This trend follows our earlier analysis about a rising consumer preference for spending on “experiences” as opposed to spending on “stuff”

Travel Spending Intentions

  • Travel spending intentions continue to trend higher
  • The HSI readings are volatile from month to month. But the pull back in December would match up with other indicators showing the terrible bshfires are having a negative impact on travel intentions
  • Google trends, for example, reveals accommodation searches in fire affected areas on the north and south coast of NSW are falling away

Education Spending Intentions

  • As with Health & Fitness, Education spending intentions have lost a little momentum in recent months
  • But spending intentions remain at high levels overall

Health and Fitness Spending Intentions

  • Intentions to spend on health & fitness have moved lower in recent month
  • But the HSI for Health & Fitness spending remains comfortably in positive territory
  • And spending intentions are still growing more strongly than most other parts of consumer

Pretty dour overall. Let them eat houses.

Similar spin from ANZ:

Confidence continued with its forward march, gaining 0.9% last week. This takes it back to where it was in mid-December. The financial and economic sub-indices were mixed, while the ‘Time to buy a household item’ strengthened solidly.

  • Current finances gained 3.4% vis-a-vis weakness of 5.5% seen in the previous reading. In contrast, future finances declined 2.5%, reversing some of the 4.6% gain seen over the three previous surveys.
  • Current economic conditions gained 2.2%, while future economic conditions fell by 3%. These subindices were up 6.1% and 8.6%, respectively, in the previous reading.
  • ‘Time to buy a major household item’ was up 4.7%, to its highest level since October. Four-week moving average of ‘inflation expectations’ was stable at 3.9%. However, the weekly reading was back above 4% after two weeks of being below.

Forward march into the pit.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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