Real estate and financial services businesses are finding trading conditions less challenging than other industries, according to research by Bankwest.
The annual Business Challenges and Opportunities Report for 2013, revealed just 36.8 per cent of real estate small to medium enterprises (SMEs) consider the general economic environment an obstacle to success, the lowest level of any industry.
In comparison, 84.8 per cent of SMEs from the transport industry, and 84 per cent from the manufacturing industry, reported they considered the economic environment an obstacle.
Bankwest executive general manager, business banking Sinead Taylor attributed the real estate sector’s optimism to the recent upturn in the property market.
The Business Challenges and Opportunities Report also noted both the financial and insurance services sectors reported positive trading conditions.
Within these sectors, over 63 per cent of respondents cited investment opportunities as a key driver for business growth, higher than any other industry.
Overall, 69.4 per cent of SMEs reported increasingly challenging conditions in 2013 - a modest reduction on last year’s result of 72.7 per cent and 2011’s 80.1 per cent.
Ms Taylor said the overall result was very promising.
“It’s positive to see trading conditions for SMEs generally improving, despite some industries forecasting greater challenges and others displaying much more optimism,” she said.
From a state perspective, WA is home to the most optimistic respondents with 9.7 per cent saying they see many opportunities for growth, well above the national average of just 7.2 per cent.
Ms Taylor said, “WA’s economy remains strong despite a general slowdown in the mining industry as the mining investment boom cools off.
“Compared to other states in Australia, WA has a reasonably positive long-term economic outlook, which is benefitting the state’s business community,” she said.
In contrast, Queensland’s SMEs are much less optimistic, with just 4.2 per cent reporting strong opportunities for their businesses over the coming 12 months.
Ms Taylor said it’s undeniable that Queensland’s SMEs are finding conditions tough at the moment.
“The general economic environment has impacted the state’s SMEs, having an obvious effect on sentiment for business conditions going forward,” she said.