Australians who purchased their first home in the last two years claim that soaring utility bills and fears over job security are their greatest financial concerns.
According to the Mortgage Choice 2012 First Home Owner Survey, almost one third of the 900 respondents said that increasing utility bills, and the impact this may have on their ability to repay their home loan, was their greatest concern for 2012.
This comes at a time when utility bills have risen nationally by approximately 10 per cent over the year to June.
The Mortgage Choice research also found a marked difference between genders in levels of concern for rising utility bills, with 38 per cent of women rating this as their top concern compared to 24 per cent of men.
After utility bills, recent first home owners were most concerned about job security, at 15 per cent of respondents – more than double the 7 per cent recorded in 2011.
These results suggest that fears of a prolonged economic slowdown are affecting the confidence of recent first homeowners in relation to retaining their job.
Interest rates were the third most topical issue following job security.
In 2011, almost half (47 per cent) of the survey's respondents said that interest rate movements were their greatest concern.
However, with increased speculation of another cash rate cut by the Reserve Bank this year, this number has fallen in 2012 to 13 per cent.
"Soaring utility bills and fears of an economic slowdown have been big news this year and our research shows that recent first homeowners are, like many people, monitoring the situation very closely,” Mortgage Choice spokesperson Belinda Williamson said.
"It is no surprise that interest rate movements are at present less of a concern than last year. If they do fall further as many are speculating, it could help homeowners claw back some of the money spent on rising utility bills and other living costs."