State of the States report reveals how we’re travelling

The latest State of the States report from CommSec Research has been released, revealing New South Wales has held on to its reign as the best performing economy in the country overall.

The Australian Capital Territory remains in third position on the economic performance rankings, with higher home prices and home loans adding momentum.

Holding its top spot for economic growth, construction work done and unemployment is the Northern Territory, while languishing at the bottom is Tasmania, ranking fourth on two indicators and fifth on three.

In four of the states and territories, construction work was higher than decade averages in the June quarter (previously six states).

Leading the way was the NT, with construction work done 30.6 per cent above its decade average – activity associated with the gas projects is still providing solid support. However, construction work in the NT was down 28 per cent in the June quarter compared with a year ago – highlighting the shift in momentum that’s under way.

Victoria continues to record the strongest annual population growth and is now also first on the differential with the decade-average rate. Victoria’s population is 1.94 per cent higher than a year ago and this growth rate is 8.4 per cent above the “normal” or decade-average level.

Queensland is now third on population growth, with an annual growth rate of 1.30 per cent (Queensland’s population growth is the fastest in 15 months), while the state or territory with the slowest annual population growth is the NT, up just 0.40 per cent on a year ago and down 76 per cent on the decade average – the weakest in the nation.

Tasmania’s annual population growth rose from 0.40 per cent to 0.43 per cent in the March quarter and was almost 29 per cent lower than its decade average.

In six of the states and territories – the ACT, NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland – trend housing finance commitments are above decade averages.

The ACT held on to top spot, with the number of commitments 19.2 per cent above the long-term average.

Next strongest was NSW (up 12.1 per cent on decade averages) which leap-frogged Victoria (up 11.5 per cent).

NT remains the weakest for housing finance, with trend commitments more than 19 per cent lower than its decade average.

NSW retains the mantle of the strongest in the nation for new home construction, with starts almost 76 per cent above decade averages.

Queensland has held second spot from Victoria, with starts 34.2 per cent above decade averages. Victorian starts are 30.9 per cent above decade averages.

In terms of annual growth, SA is strongest with dwelling starts at two-year highs, and now up 15.5 per cent on a year ago.

Turning to home prices, in September six of the capital cities had positive annual growth of home prices.

The strongest annual growth was in Sydney (up 10.2 per cent), followed by Melbourne and Canberra (both up 9 per cent) and Hobart (up 8.7 per cent), then there’s quite a gap to the other capital cities.

Next strongest was Adelaide (up 6.5 per cent), and Brisbane (up 3 per cent).

Home prices were lower than a year ago in Perth (down 7 per cent), and Darwin (down 6 per cent).

Generally speaking, the NT is losing momentum, and as key resource projects are completed, activity levels will slow further unless a lift in investment takes place. Slow population growth, weak demand for housing loans and a sharp fall in business investment will constrain economic momentum.

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