SA takes the economic crown but WA is closing in

South Australia has come out on top of the economic leaderboard for a second straight year, according to a new report.

CommSec’s State of the States economic performance report ranked South Australia number one, just ahead of Western Australia and Victoria.

Second-placed Western Australia jumped ahead of Victoria while Queensland, NSW, the ACT and Tasmania shared fourth position in the performance rankings, with the Northern Territory finishing eighth.

The report tracks a range of economic indicators including economic growth, unemployment, construction work and dwelling starts, with South Australia found to be the most consistent performer.

CommSec Chief Economist Craig James said overall, economies have slowed in response to higher interest rates, but have generally remained resilient, underpinned by firm population growth and low unemployment.

“Justifying South Australia’s position on top of the rankings is the fact that it ranks first on four of the eight indicators,” Mr James said.

“But there are signs the economy is losing momentum as shown by its sixth ranking on the annual rate of change across the indicators.”

South Australia ranked first on four indicators, including construction work done and unemployment.

Western Australia ranked first on relative population growth and equipment investment.

Victoria ranked third on four of the eight indicators, including retail spending.

While NSW was second on three of the eight indicators.

SOTS SA Snapshot Overview 01
Source: Commbank

Another of the eight indicators the report measured was housing finance, which is not just a leading indicator for real estate activity and housing construction, but of activity in the financial sector.

In all states and territories except the Northern Territory, housing finance commitments remain above decade averages.

However, home loans are still below last year’s levels in three states and territories (compared with all states last survey).

Queensland remains in the top spot, with the value of home loans up by 24.6 per cent on the long-term average.

The next strongest is South Australia (up 22.6 per cent), ahead of Western Australia (up 19.8 per cent) and Victoria (up 17.3 per cent).

The Northern Territory is still the weakest for housing finance with commitments 3.7 per cent lower than its decade average.

Commitments in Tasmania were up 3.5 per cent on the decade average, behind the ACT (up 12.7 per cent) and NSW (up 13.6 per cent).

In annual terms, lending in South Australia was strongest, up 10.5 per cent, followed by Queensland (up 10.1 per cent).

Home loans in Western Australia were up 9.0 per cent, followed by NSW (up 8.6 per cent); Victoria (up 6.1 per cent), the ACT (down 7.7 per cent), the Northern Territory (down 8.7 per cent) and Tasmania (down 10.7 per cent).

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Western Australia has the strongest economic momentum, unchanged over the previous two surveys

The mining state also leads the other states and territories on annual growth rates on four of the eight indicators.

Queensland is in second position ahead of Victoria while the ACT is in fourth spot.

NSW is in fifth position ahead of South Australia in sixth position, the Northern Territory is seventh and Tasmania is in eighth position.

Mr James said the WA economy was strong and likely to keep improving.

“Western Australia remains on top of the leaderboard of the annual growth rates of the eight key economic indicators,” he said.

“WA has the necessary momentum to pass South Australia to attain top spot in coming quarters.”

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