Consumer confidence lower in December
The Westpac Melbourne Institute of Consumer Sentiment has recorded a fall of 8.3 per cent over the last month, moving from 103.4 in November to 94.7 in December.
In a result described by researchers as "surprising", the shift now means that Australians are more pessimistic than optimistic in their outlook.
Speaking on the unexpected findings, Westpac's chief economist Bill Evans said that consumers had not been moved by recent interest rate cuts.
Evans stated: "“The news on economic conditions; international conditions and Budget and taxation was considered the most negative since 2008/09.
"Specific news which is likely to have unnerved respondents is the reported increase in the
unemployment rate from 5.2% to 5.3% with a loss of 40,000 full time jobs."
He also mentioned that recent developments in overseas financial markets were likely to have caused the sudden sense of unease among respondents.
The report notes that those surveyed who currently held a mortgage had registered a larger than average decrease in sentiment of 9.5 per cent.
For those involved in residential property investments, this could be a sign that consumers will be more interested in renting dwellings than taking out a loan to fund a land purchase in the short term.