So we ARE in love with fantastic plastic.  There are almost 17 million credit card accounts in Australia.

But new research has revealed that Australians are at least heading the warnings of sites like ours (take a bow!) and moving away from high interest credit cards and turning to personal loans for larger household purchases.

Driving this switch are tech-savvy consumers taking up loans from peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, a new breed of online competitors to banks.

Latest figures from credit bureau Equifax reveal that credit card  applications fell by almost 4 per cent in the March 2017 quarter  compared to the same quarter last year.

Personal loan applications rose by 13.5 per cent over the same period  – the biggest increase since the March 2005 quarter.

There is never a week when property doesn’t throw up another scary fact…this week, one of country’s best economists, Chris Richardson got himself into a bit of a pickle when he recommended that young people should just give up trying to buy a home.

They should instead be renters.

Richardson told a press lunch in Canberra that “rents today make a lot more sense than house prices.’’

This is despite rental yields of 2 to 4 per cent across most metropolitan cities while house prices have leapt ahead by 15 per cent in the last year in both Sydney and Melbourne.

Small wonder many columnists suggested Richardson needed to go back to school.

It is so easy for someone in a privileged position — such as a top economist who spends their days giving advice to institutions in boardrooms — to make this call. And it is so wrong,” said James Kirby, The Australian’s Wealth Editor.

Meanwhile, our politicians have shown their property prowess in an analysis by the national broadcaster ABC. One stand out example is the Liberal National Senator for Queensland, Barry O’Sullivan who has 33 investment properties including 11 agricultural, 8 investments, 7 commercial, 5 industrial and 2 residential.

This is closely followed by the Federal assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Karen Andrews who has 10 investment properties while Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has seven investment properties including one residential.

Looks like there’s no housing affordability crisis among the ranks of Federal Parliament’s members and senators.

For the rest of us, it’s back to Bunnings.

Three quarters (76%) of Australian home owners are renovating, up 12 per cent since 2015, according to Westpac’s Home Ownership Report. 

Of those, almost half (47%) are considering renovating their home, one in five (20%) are currently renovating, and 70% have undertaken renovations in the past.

The nationwide study commissioned by Westpac, found that renovating is now the highest priority for nearly one third (32%) of home owners who are considering a house-related activity in the next five years. 

Chris Screen, Westpac Group Head of Home Ownership, said the competitive housing market has inspired a surge in home renovations.

“With rising property prices and intense competition for property in metro areas, many home owners are looking to renovate their existing property rather than sell and risk losing their position in the market,” said Mr. Screen.   

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