SYDNEY, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Consumer confidence in Australia's housing market has hit a 42-year low, a survey has found.
Just 11.6 per cent of respondents to an annual survey by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Services said they believed property was the wisest place to store savings.
The poor confidence in property represents the worst result for housing since the survey began in 1974.
Housing has often been one of the most popular answers to the survey, often faring better than bank deposits and paying down debt as the best option.
More than 28 per cent of respondents to the same survey in September 2015 said they believed housing was the best option for their savings.
Confidence in the property market peaked at 32 per cent in the early 2000s and remained in the mid-to high 20s in the decade since.
Bill Evans, the chief economist at Westpac bank, said the latest survey proved there was a "clear increase in risk aversion."
"Consumers are saying: yes we expect (real estate) prices to rise, but we are a little cautious," Evans told Fairfax Media in comments published on Friday.
"There is no doubt there is nervousness about the sustainability of the prices."
The survey came as official data from Victoria's Valuer-General revealed that the median house price across the state had fallen for the first time in four years.
The report said that the average house price had fallen 3.1 per cent in the last quarter of 2016 from 396,000 U.S. dollars to 383,000 U.S. dollars.
Chris Andrews, chief investment officer at La Trobe University, said that surveys measuring confidence levels were always inconsistent.
"It's not surprising people are starting to emphasise repaying the debt they've taken on rather than looking at taking on new housing," Andrews told Melbourne radio station 3AW on Friday.
"And that's what the survey figures are pointing to."