State vs. State

November 16th, 2015
The latest 'State of the States' report has just been released by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, with economic conditions analysed and compared across all states and territories. The report included economic indicators related to growth, retail spending, employment, investment, construction, and housing, with New South Wales retaining the top spot and Victoria coming in second. With a bigger gap than ever before between these two states and the rest of the country, Australia's two speed economy looks set to continue.

NSW came out on top of the report, retaining its top position thanks to strong results for population growth, retail trade, housing finance, and new dwellings. Victoria came in second for population growth, housing finance, and new dwellings, as the property sector continues to pick up pace in Melbourne. According to separate data from CoreLogic RP Data, Melbourne notched the strongest property growth in the country during the October quarter, with Melbourne's 3.1 percent growth outperforming Sydney's 1.5 percent. ;

The Northern Territory and Western Australia were the third ranked states in the Commonwealth Bank report, with the NT falling behind Victoria since last year. While the "top end" came out on top for economic growth, business investment, and completed construction, it ranked last for population growth, housing finance, and new dwellings. Despite a sharp downturn in the resources industry, high unemployment, and low housing activity, WA ranked second for retail trade, economic growth, and construction work.

Queensland came in at fifth position, keeping its spot from last year and ranking middle-of-the-range on most indicators. Some analysts are lending weight to the idea of a three-speed Australian economy, with NSW and Victoria out in front; NT and WA in the second group; and QLD, ACT, SA, and Tasmania lagging behind. Queensland came in last for mixed construction work, with work completed in the state 11 percent below the decade average.

Despite weak results in QLD, higher than decade averages for construction were recorded in five other states and territories. The NT recorded especially good results at more than 120 percent above the decade average, followed by WA, Victoria, NSW, and Tasmania. Victoria led the way for population growth at 1.68 percent higher than a year ago, followed by WA, NSW, QLD, and the ACT.

Trend housing finance commitments were above decade averages in three economies, with six out of eight economies above their averages from last year. NSW still leads the way for housing finance, with commitments above their long-term average by 16.3 percent. Victoria came in second at 11.7 percent above the average, followed by the ACT at 10.3 percent. NSW also came out in front for new home building, with a strong result 52 percent above the decade average. Victoria came in second with 41.2 percent, followed by Tasmania, QLD, and WA.

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