Consumer confidence may have been unsettled in recent months, but that hasn’t stopped people applying for loans or new credit cards.
It suggests that in a low-interest rate environment Australia’s retail and housing sectors will continue to benefit, and help offset the impact of the downturn in mining-related construction, credit data provider Veda says.
Its quarterly consumer credit demand index, released on Tuesday, jumped 10.7 per cent in the June quarter compared with the same period last year.
This included a 15 per cent surge in credit card applications and a 6.4 per cent increase in personal loans.
The index provides an early indication of movements in consumer spending and retail sales, Veda’s general manager of consumer risk Angus Luffman says.
He said the rise in credit card demand can be attributed to several factors, including a continued high level of campaign activity by major card issuers and new product initiatives.
However, while there has been a strong increase in credit card usage, balances accruing interest are still in decline.
“Consumers remain cautious about running up credit card debt,” Mr Luffman says.
A pick-up in car sales and strong household goods retailing could have contributed to the strength of personal loan applications.
Mortgage applications, not part of the consumer credit demand index, also rose 12.6 per cent compared to the June quarter 2014, suggesting a further strengthening in the housing market is on the horizon.
“Historically, movements in Veda mortgage demand have tended to lead movements in housing prices by around six to nine months,” Mr Luffman said.