Households fear soaring utility costs
Bill shock ...
Rising utility costs have been listed as the greatest fear among new home owners, following the jump of more than 17 per cent in the price of regulated electricity earlier this year.
The growing level of concern over increasing power costs was highlighted in a survey conducted by Mortgage Choice, the results of which were issued yesterday.
Of the more than 900 Australian new first-home owners questioned, 32 per cent listed rising utility bills as their greatest concern for this year.
The issue was listed as more concerning than housing prices, the government's economic management and the global economy. It also affected more than double the amount of respondents concerned about the second most vexing issue of job security, which almost 15 per cent of respondents were worried about.
The 2011 Mortgage Choice Recent First Homeowner Survey listed the cost of utility bills under other costs of living, which was reported as a concern for fewer than 25 per cent of respondents.
Mortgage Choice spokeswoman Belinda Williamson said the increased concern was not surprising.
''Soaring utility bills and fears of an economic slowdown have been big news this year and our research shows that recent first-home owners are, like many people, monitoring the situation very closely.''
ActewAGL general manager Ayesha Razzaq said the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission announced a 17.74 per cent increase to the regulated price of electricity from July 1, which would see an estimated increase for a typical residential customer's electricity costs of around $5.25 a week, or $273 a year.
''The main reason for this price increase is the introduction of a price on carbon,'' she said. ''It accounts for approximately $4.19 of the $5.25 per week increase.''
Ms Razzaq said the other main contributor to the increase was the ongoing need for investment in electricity infrastructure, including upgrading and expanding the electricity network.
''While the cost of energy is going up, the ACT will still continue to have the lowest electricity prices in the country and considerably lower prices than those across the border,'' she said.
The push in prices may also be driving the trend towards downsizing in the capital, but Housing Industry Association ACT executive director Neil Evans said there was no evidence the trend was due to increasing power bills instead of other concerns, such as land costs.