MSN Money – 7 Jan, 2016
By Angus Whitley
Ferrari sales in Australia soared to a record last year and demand for Porsche sports cars jumped as the country’s property boom encouraged homeowners to splash out.
Ferrari NV notched up 167 sales in 2015, a 48 percent increase from the previous year, according to a report released Wednesday by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries in Australia. Demand for Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz brands also surged, outstripping a 3.8 percent nationwide increase in total new vehicle sales.
The Reserve Bank of Australia, which has cut interest rates to record lows, last year found a strong link between home-price increases and rising car sales. Sydney house values climbed 12 percent last year, extending a three-year boom that has pushed the median price in Australia’s largest city to A$935,000 ($670,000), according to CoreLogic Inc.
“People are looking at the value of their home,” said Craig James, a senior economist at the securities unit of Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “Home prices have been recording good gains, so they’ve seen their wealth levels rising. That’s also rationalizing their choice in going a little bit upmarket.”
Porsche sales jumped to 4,090 from 2,812, while demand for Fiat cars fell 32 percent and Proton sales slumped 48 percent, according to the chamber’s report.
Consumers in Australia are more upbeat about their financial situation than at any time since the global financial crisis, according to a gauge released Tuesday by Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.
“Property has been a driving force for us,” said Herbert Appleroth, chief executive officer of Ferrari for Australia and New Zealand. “It’s people who are investing, it’s the developers, it’s the specialized trades who are also benefiting.”
A typical Ferrari costs between A$500,000 and A$550,000 and about 60 percent of last year’s buyers had never owned one before, he said. Low borrowing costs have put Ferraris within reach of more people, said Appleroth.