For the first time in five years the broad sentiment of Australians has moved from mildly negative – to mildly positive. The broad trend in predicted improving economic conditions, along with a return to wage growth and falling unemployment has driven a return to positive consumer sentiment across Australia.

CoreData’s survey – which focused on a representative sample of all Australians and was conducted in the first week of January – showed that 42.2% of Australian surveyed were optimistic for the year ahead while only 13.7% were pessimistic.

This is a shift for Australian consumer sentiment – essentially moving from mildly pessimistic about the economic future to mildly optimistic for the future.

Optimistic for the year ahead

In truth the data is still choppy – with some signs of wage growth emerging – not in particular the wage negotiations taking place for train drivers in New South Wales – which tends to be the harbinger of wage inflation – but also note house prices are cooling – home lending is falling and that share market expectations across the board are for weak returns.

Consumers are aware of this and only 20% of the Australians surveyed thought there was a chance of interest rate rises this year while 80% are predicting house price falls.