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5 things you need to know today

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Published on: Monday, March 20, 2017

  • This week, the preliminary auction clearance rate across the combined capital cities was 76.2% compared to last week’s 75.1% and 68.8% last year. According to research house CoreLogic, auction volumes also increased over the week, with 2,844 homes taken to auction compared to 1,473 last week. However, auction volumes stood at 3,540 at the same time last year. Sydney has the highest preliminary clearance rate at 83.9%.
  • There are expectations that fresh lending limits imposed by policymakers could urge the big four banks to make even further out-of-cycle interest rate hikes. According to the Australian Financial Review, the managing director of Australian Foundation Investment Company, Ross Barker, expects other banks to follow NAB and Westpac which made out-of-cycle rate rises for owner occupiers and investors. On Friday, Westpac increased the lending rate on investment loans by 23 basis points and interest-only investor loans by 28 basis points.
  • A survey by Finder.com.au has found that the average Australian adult stays with the same health fund for 11.8 years. “With health insurance premiums increasing by more than 50% on average since 2010, that’s seven years of annual premium hikes that health members have endured for no reward,” said Money Expert at Finder.com.au, Bessie Hassan. “Australians think being loyal to their health fund will earn them discounts and rewards when in fact they probably just end up paying more.” Health insurance premiums are set to increase on April 1. Hassan said Aussies should review their cover at least every 12 months to make sure they aren’t missing out on better deals elsewhere.
  • The Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator (BSI) rose 0.1% in trend terms in February. CommSec says this is the slowest growth in two years. The BSI is a measure of economy-wide spending. Spending rose at a pace of 0.7-0.8% between September to November last year and has slowed during the past three months. “Spending growth looks weak, but that represents some statistical payback from above-average growth late last year” said CommSec’s chief economist, Craig James. “Annual growth near 5% is still healthy”.
  • At 0715 AEDT on Monday, the share price futures index was down 13 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 5,770.

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