Weekend Economist: Home improvement

As consumer confidence improves, and with rates set to be on hold for the next 12 months, investor-driven housing activity is likely to gain momentum well into 2015.

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment increased by 3.8 per cent in August, from 94.9 in July to 98.5 in August.  That was a pleasing result. The index is now only 1.2 per cent below its level prior to the federal budget on May 13. Over the last three months the index has increased by a total of 5.9 per cent, indicating that much of the damage to confidence in the aftermath of the budget has been repaired. However, the index has not reclaimed any of the ground lost between November 2013 and April 2014, when enthusiasm associated with a new government appeared to wane.

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