Cost rises hit Affluents hardest

The biggest price increases in the September quarter were in recreation and transport. Recreation was driven by increases in the prices of holiday travel and accommodation – both international (+4.3 per cent) and domestic (+2.4 per cent).

Increased transport costs were driven by rises in the price of automotive fuel (+1.4 per cent).

The biggest fall in the quarter was in telecommunications, and this related to a price drop in the cost of telecommunications equipment and services (–1.5 per cent).

These changes affected the tribes differently:

  • Affluent Couples (0.5 per cent) and Singles (0.4 per cent) faced the biggest increases as they tend to spend the most on recreation, i.e. travel and accommodation.
  • Constrained Couples (0.4 per cent) and Singles (0.3 per cent) were more markedly affected by the increased cost of transport.
  • Cash-Strapped Couples and Singles (both 0.4 per cent) were affected partly by housing and partly by transport, but less so than Constrained tribes because they spend a smaller proportion of their income on transport. Housing costs increased at a slower rate this quarter – partly due to a drop in house prices – but this only trickled through to rents, which still rose 0.2 per cent.

Looking at cost-of-living increases over the past year, Constrained Couples were the most affected tribe, and this was due to petrol price increases. Constrained Couples spend the biggest proportion of their income on transport (15 per cent) and petrol prices have risen dramatically in the past year (21 per cent).

Unsurprisingly, housing was the main driver of increases for Cash-Strapped Couples and Singles. 

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Written by Matt Grudnoff

Senior economist at the Australia Institute, Matt is a regular contributor to YourLifeChoices and has extensive knowledge on retirement incomes, taxation and tax concessions, the federal Budget, poverty and inequality, free trade agreements, housing affordability, energy economics and climate change. He worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Climate Change. Matt is the brains behind Australia's most accurate cost-of-retirement table, the YourLifeChoices Retirement Affordability Index™.

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