Living costs not so bad for home buyers

Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics and Business Correspondent
(Australian Associated Press)


All households are feeling the pinch of higher fuel costs, however low mortgage rates suggest people in work are not under the same cost of living pressures as retirees.

Every quarter, the Australian Bureau of Statistics dissects the latest consumer price index to see how inflation may have impacted different household groups, such as employees, aged pensioners or self-funded retirees.

“The impact of price changes on household living costs can vary between household groups due to the different spending patterns of households,” ABS head of prices statistics Michelle Marquardt said.

The September quarter consumer price index rose 0.8 per cent to an annual rate of three per cent, largely driven higher by fuel costs.

“Over the past 12 months automotive fuel prices have increased 25 per cent, which has been the largest contributor to higher living costs for Australian households,” she said.

However, mortgage interest payments make up a higher proportion of overall expenditure for employee households compared to other types of households.

Mortgage interest charges fell 1.6 per cent in the September quarter and 8.1 per cent over the past 12 months.

“Lower fixed and variable interest rates have eased living costs for households with a mortgage,” Ms Marquardt said.

The ABS estimates living costs for employee households rose 0.6 per cent in the September quarter for an annual rate of 2.6 per cent, whereas costs for self-funded retirees rose 0.7 per cent in the quarter for 2.9 per cent annually.


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