But the big surprise in the Commonwealth Bank's latest State of the States report is Tasmania, which usually lags the mainland but has surged into fourth place on the back of a growing population.
Annual growth in home lending in Tasmania is now the strongest nationally at 10.3 per cent. Housing finance is a good indicator not only for construction but for activity in the financial sector generally.
NSW held onto the position of best-performing economy on a broad range of economic indicators, including economic growth, retail trade, dwelling starts and business investment.
But Victoria continues to record the strongest annual population growth and the ACT economy is underpinned by low unemployment.
"NSW remains solidly on top of the economic performance rankings but it may experience a challenge from either Victoria or the ACT over the coming year," ComSec chief economist Craig James said.
Queensland and the Northern Territory are middling jurisdictions. But while Queensland's economy looks to be on an upward trajectory, the NT is losing momentum, according to the report.
"The [Queensland] economy is second-ranked on dwelling starts and population growth is lifting," it said.
"The strong level of home building will support the job market as well as consumer and business spending. Queensland should also benefit from higher revenues from tourism and rural exports."
The NT has dropped from fourth spot to sixth. "The job market is strong but population growth is weak, affecting consumer spending and housing demand," the report said.
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