Aussies bought more new cars than ever in 2023
Aussies bought a record number of new cars in 2023, the Christmas debt hangover is here, and the world's richest woman ticks over a new milestone. Here are five things you may have missed this week.
New car records
Aussies bought a record 1,216,780 new cars in 2023, but industry experts say cost of living pressures mean the trend is unlikely to continue.
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber expects high living costs will dampen car sales in the coming year.
"Cost-of-living pressures and increased interest rates will impact the market, and we anticipate a challenging 2024," he says.
He predicts the automotive sector "will face challenges in the coming months".
The record sales figures are up from the previous high of 1,189,117 cars delivered in 2017.
The Ford Ranger ousted the Toyota HiLux to be the top-selling vehicle for the first time, while Toyota retained its title as the top-selling brand.
2023 also saw sales of electric cars double from the previous year.
The real Christmas hangover
Forget too many glasses of bubbly - one in three Aussies are nursing a Christmas debt hangover after overspending during the festive season.
New research from Finder has revealed 38% of Aussies have racked up debt, with 15% of people saying it could take up to five months to pay it off.
Finder credit card expert Amy Bradney-George says family pressures can lead to excessive spending during the Christmas period.
"The pressure of gift giving and festive activities can often lead to overspending and an increased reliance on credit."
She suggests writing a budget and finding where you can cut your spending until the debt is repaid.
"Create a detailed repayment plan, and prioritise paying off high-interest debt first until it's all cleared," she says.
"Set little goals along the way, so you're able to track your progress over time and stay motivated - just like you might set them for your health and fitness."
New scholarship for First Nations women in finance
First Nations women are underrepresented in economics, finance and business, but a new $120,000 scholarship aims to improve that.
First Nations Economics and First Nations Foundation have partnered to launch the Leah Armstrong Scholarship, named after the Torres Strait Islander woman and chair of First Australians Capital.
The scholarship will provide up to $20,000 per year for three years for two First Nations women studying business or finance full-time.
"First Nations women play a critical role in their families and communities as leaders, nurturers and knowledge holders," says Armstrong.
"However, they are less represented in the labour force and are even more underrepresented in professions such as finance and economics.
"By creating more opportunities for First Nations women to study and work in these areas, we will also drive greater outcomes across the entire community."
First Nations Economics managing director Rick Macourt says: "Supporting First Nations women to lead transformation in areas such as government, financial services and within their communities is key to long-term, sustainable change that places our communities in the driving seat.
Scholarship applications opened in December and will close on January 29. Apply here: firstnationseconomics.com/scholarships.
Residential property listings fall
The number of residential property listings across Australia fell 5.2% in December, according to data from SQM Research.
New listings fell 3.2% nationally, while all capital cities reported a drop in new listings.
While asking prices for capital cities increased by 1.6%, the national combined dwelling asking price fell by 0.2%.
The festive season means the fall in listings across December was unsurprising, says Harry Bawa, SQM Research head of property and business analytics.
"It is interesting to note that overall national listings were slightly higher in December 2023 than they were in December 2022, with Adelaide being the only exception - seemingly because of its relative affordability, and extremely tight rental market," he says.
"Aside from January, which we expect will follow a similar trend as previous years, subdued by the holiday season and the Australia Day long weekend, 2024 will be an interesting year."
Because she's worth it
L'Oreal heiress and vice-chairman Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is officially the richest woman in the world.
The 70-year-old granddaughter of L'Oreal founder Eugene Schueller became the first woman with a $USD100 billion ($AUD146 billion) net worth after the L'Oreal share price rose 35% last year.
The 12th wealthiest person in the world, her family owns about a 33% stake in L'Oreal, and she has served on the cosmetics company board since 1997.
News of the net worth milestone might give pause to L'Oreal customers, with L'Oreal Revitalift Clinical Vitamin C Serum setting you back $60 for 30ml. That's $2000 per litre.
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