Low interest rates and rising house and share prices made 2013 a good year for Australian households.
The St George Melbourne Institute Household Financial Conditions Index jumped 4.3 per cent to 132.6 points in the December quarter – its highest level since 2009.
The index rose 9.3 per cent over 2013, the biggest rise since the survey began in 1994.
“Recent gains in house prices and a strong performance in the share market have been a key catalyst behind the record improvement for the financial conditions of Australian households,” St George chief economist Besa Deda said.
St George retail banking general manager Andy Fell said low interest rates had seen more than 40 per cent of St George customers get ahead on their loan repayments.
“We’re seeing the record low interest rates continuing to help people save more money and pay off their home loan quicker,” he said.
The survey of 1,200 respondents showed holidays remained the most popular motivation for saving money.
It said 83 per cent of Australian households were in a stable financial position with almost 50 per cent managing to save money in December.
Financial conditions for 18- to 24-year-olds rose almost 50 per cent in the year to December as more young Australians managed to snag casual jobs over the Christmas break.
But renters saw a big reduction in their financial conditions as rental prices continued to increase, the report said.