30 Jul 2021

Consumer confidence steady, inflation expectations high

12:56 pm on 30 July 2021

Strong house prices and a tightening labour market continues to buoy consumer optimism.

Sold sign outside a house in East Auckland

House price inflation expectations lifted by by 0.6 points to 6.4 percent over the month. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The ANZ-Roy Morgan survey of consumers showed headline confidence was largely unchanged at 113 points in July, which was a little under its historical average of 120.

Meanwhile, the proportion of people who thought it was a good time to purchase a major household item - a key measure of consumer confidence - rose by 2 points.

"This likely reflects wealth effects from the housing boom for those lucky enough to own a house, as well as excellent job security in an exceptionally tight labour market," ANZ chief economist Sharon Zollner said.

Much like businesses, consumers' inflation expectations remain high, easing slightly to 4.9 percent - which is just below the highest reading in the survey's 11-year history.

Zollner said households continue to expect inflation which will make it a lot easier for retailers to raise their prices without fear of of losing their customers.

The inflationary pressures were the result of capacity constraints within the economy which included labour shortages, supply chain disruptions and higher electricity costs.

House price inflation expectations lifted by by 0.6 points to 6.4 percent over the month.

"The famously nine-lives New Zealand housing market is also refusing to roll over, with house price expectations ticking higher after four months of falls," Zollner said.

Higher mortgage rates are expected to test consumer demand, but it is fair to say the notion that the property market is unstoppable is ingrained in the public's consciousness, she said.

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