Australians saving more: survey

AAP, with a staff reporter

Household finances are improving, with more than 45 per cent of Australians managing to save money, according to a St George Bank and Melbourne Institute survey released today.

The Household Financial Conditions Report found 45.3 per cent of Australians were currently saving money, and 12.4 per cent were managing to "save a lot", while outright home ownership rose in all states.

Of the 1200 respondents, who were surveyed over the first three months of the year, the percentage who owned their home outright jumped to 45.6 per cent, from 40.2 per cent in the previous quarter.

Putting money aside for holidays or travel was the most popular reason for saving.

"Improved household financial conditions may have allowed some Australians to make greater contributions to their mortgages, and others to actually pay off their homes entirely," St George Bank chief economist Hans Kunnen said in a statement.

The strong performance of the share market so far this year and lower interest rates also may have helped, Mr Kunnen said.

The survey showed NSW experienced the greatest improvement in household financial conditions, booking a 3.8 per cent increase.

It was followed by South Australia (2.9 per cent), Queensland (2.8 per cent), Victoria (2.7 per cent) and Western Australia (1.2 per cent).

South Australia experienced the greatest lift in outright home ownership, from 39.8 per cent to 49.9 per cent for the quarter.