The grocery change that can save families $2468 a year
One switch can save families $2468, home loan approval in under 60 minutes, and east coast floods break records, Here are five things you may have missed this week.
This simple move can save Aussie families $2468 annually
Aldi Australia has just released its 2022 Price Report, revealing just how much families can save by switching their shop to Aldi.
Based on data analysed by PwC, the report says an average Aussie family who usually buys branded products can save $2468 each year by shopping at Aldi, or around $1555 annually for those who opt for the cheapest no-frills products.
The savings couldn't come at a more critical time.
Aldi's report found almost all (98%) Aussie grocery shoppers have noticed an increase in the overall cost of living compared with previous years. As many as one in three say they are worse-off financially than in mid-2021.
Price is now the single most important factor in the weekly grocery shop, with one in two shoppers paying more attention to price tags.
Even so, the report says only one in 10 Australians have switched supermarkets to save money. It could be that the temptation to spend on impulse buys in Aldi's famed 'middle aisle' is holding shoppers back.
Home loans go pronto at NAB
The start of the COVID pandemic saw home loan approval times blow out as lenders adjusted to having credit teams work from home.
However, NAB claims to have nailed the situation, saying customers applying for a loan directly are being unconditionally approved in less than two days on average, down from four days six months ago.
One in three NAB customers are now unconditionally approved for a mortgage in less than one hour.
The quicker outcome is the result of simpler policies and processes.
NAB's group executive of personal banking, Rachel Slade says, "Customers are telling us receiving a fast decision is critical. It provides certainty and confidence to help them get into a property."
March floods most expensive flood event on record
The storms and floods that hit South-East Queensland and coastal New South Wales in February and March, are officially the nation's costliest ever having racked up close to $3.35 billion in insured losses.
According to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), the floods are also the fifth most expensive disaster in Australia's history after the Eastern Sydney Hailstorm (1999, $5.57 billion), Cyclone Tracey (1974, $5.04 billion), Cyclone Dinah (1967, $4.69 billion) and the Newcastle Earthquake (1989, $4.24 billion).
Andrew Hall, CEO of ICA, says, "We knew that this year's east coast flooding was one of the biggest floods in our history, but these updated numbers show that in monetary terms it was in fact the biggest ever."
The floods have been a significant driver of Australians reviewing their home insurance cover, but many homeowners are facing affordability issues.
According to Compare the Market's latest quarterly Bill Shock Tracker survey, 18% of respondents said they could not afford insurance.
ACCC data shows insurance is more likely to be unaffordable in regions more prone to natural disasters, meaning those who need it the most tend to miss out.
In Northern Australia for example, where extreme weather is more common, about 20% of buildings are not insured compared to 11% across Australia as a whole.
Questions raised over online marketplaces
A new ACCC report on online retail marketplaces such as Amazon Australia, Catch, eBay Australia and Kogan, has highlighted a range of concerns for consumers.
A key issue, according to the consumer watchdog, is how algorithms are used to decide the way products are ranked and displayed, with some online marketplaces giving preference to their own products.
ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb says, "Online marketplaces need to be more transparent with consumers about how they operate. For example, they should explain to consumers why their search functions and other tools promote some products over others."
Worryingly, the report also highlights the large amounts of consumer data collected and used by online marketplaces, which may not align with the privacy preferences or expectations of many consumers.
"We believe consumers should be given more information about, and control over, how online marketplaces collect and use their data," adds Cass-Gottlieb.
Buckle up for more price hikes
Inflation is currently sitting at 5.1%, and that's already driven a 0.25% rate hike in May.
But prices look set to rise further before they start falling.
In its May economic outlook, the Reserve Bank is anticipating inflation to reach a whopping 6% by the end of 2022, before steadily dropping to 3.0% by mid-2024.
It's worth noting, the Reserve's forecasts are based on the assumption that the cash rate (currently sitting at 0.35%) will reach 1.75% by December 2022, and climb to 2.5% a year later.
If these assumptions prove accurate, we could see today's variable home loan rates climb 2.25% higher over the next 18 months.
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