Phil Lowe blames dumb bubble on all but himself

From the RBA’s chief loon today:

As you would be aware, the Reserve Bank Board met yesterday and left the cash rate unchanged at 1.5 per cent. I would like to use this opportunity to highlight some of the issues we discussed at the meeting. Before I do that, though, I would like to focus on the housing market and its implications for the economy. Readers of the monetary policy minutes would have noticed that at its February meeting the Board discussed a special paper taking a deep dive into this topic. My remarks today draw from that paper. I will first focus on the current state of the housing market. Then, I will discuss the main drivers of recent movements in housing prices, before turning to the implications for the broader economy and the financial system.

The Current State of the Housing Market

Australians watch housing markets intensely, perhaps more so than citizens of any other country. Over the five years to late 2017, they saw nationwide housing prices increase by almost 50 per cent (Graph 1). Since then, prices have fallen by 9 per cent, bringing them back to their level in mid 2016.

Graph 1
Graph 1: National housing prices

Declines of this magnitude are unusual, but they are not unprecedented. In 2008 and 2010, prices fell by a similar amount, as they did on two occasions in the 1980s. In the 1980s, the rate of CPI inflation was higher than it is now, so in inflation-adjusted terms, the declines then were larger than the current one.

These nationwide figures mask considerable variation across the country (Graph 2). The run-up in prices over recent years was most pronounced in Sydney and Melbourne, so it is not surprising that the declines over the past year have also been largest in these two cities. In Perth and Darwin, the housing markets have been weak for some time, affected by the swings in population and income associated with the mining boom. By contrast, the housing market in Hobart has been strong recently. In Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra and many parts of regional Australia, conditions have been more stable. Given these contrasting experiences, it is pretty clear that there is no such thing as theAustralian housing market. What we have is a series of separate, but interconnected, markets.

Graph 2
Graph 2: Median housing prices

Another important window into housing markets is provided by rental markets. Over recent times, the nationwide measure of rent inflation has been running at a bit less than 1 per cent, the lowest in three decades (Graph 3). As with housing prices, there is a lot of variation across the country. Rents have been falling for four years in Perth and are now around 20 per cent below their previous peak. By contrast, in Hobart rents have been rising at the fastest rate for some years.

Graph 3
Graph 3: Rent inflation

As is well understood, shifts in sentiment play an important role in housing markets. When prices are rising, people are attracted to the market in the hope of capital gains. At some point, though, valuations become so stretched that demand tails off and there is a shift in momentum. When prices are falling, it’s the reverse. The prospect of capital losses leads buyers to stay away or to delay purchasing. At some point, though, the lower prices draw more buyers into the market. First home owners find it easier to buy a home, investors are attracted back into the market, and trade-up buyers take the opportunity to upgrade to the home they have always wanted. These shifts in sentiment and momentum are seen in most housing cycles, but their precise timing is difficult to predict.

Some of these shifts in sentiment are evident in consumer surveys (Graph 4). Over recent times, the number of people reporting that an investment in real estate is the wisest place for their savings has fallen significantly. So, it is not surprising that there are fewer investors in the market. At the same time, the number of people saying it is a good time to buy a home has increased. Lower prices draw more people in and, eventually, this helps stabilise the market. So it is worth closely watching these shifts in sentiment.

Graph 4
Graph 4: Housing market sentiment

Explaining the Recent Cycle

An obvious question to ask is what are the underlying, or structural, drivers of the large run-up in housing prices and the subsequent decline?

There isn’t a single answer to this question. Rather, it is a combination of factors.

Before I discuss these factors, it is worth pointing out that the current adjustment is unusual. Unlike the other four episodes in which housing prices have declined in recent decades, this one was not preceded by rising mortgage rates. Nor has it been associated with a rise in the national unemployment rate. Instead, in New South Wales, where the recent decline in housing prices has been the largest, the unemployment rate has continued to trend down. It is now at levels last seen in the early 1970s. The unemployment rate has also trended lower in Victoria.

So, the origins of the current correction in prices do not lie in interest rates and unemployment. Rather, they largely lie in the inflexibility of the supply side of the housing market in response to large shifts in population growth.

It is useful to start with the national picture (Graph 5). Australia’s population growth picked up noticeably in the mid 2000s and it took the better part of a decade for the rate of home building to respond. It took time to plan, to obtain council approvals, to arrange finance and to build the new homes. Not surprisingly, housing prices went up. Eventually, though, the supply response did take place. Over recent times, the number of dwellings in Australia has been increasing at the fastest rate in more than two decades. Again, not surprisingly, prices have responded to this extra supply.

Graph 5
Graph 5: Population and dwelling stock growth

The population and supply dynamics are most evident in Western Australia and New South Wales (Graph 6).

During the mining investment boom, population growth in Western Australia increased from around 1 per cent to 3½ per cent. This was a big change. The rate of home building was slow to respond. When it did finally respond, it was just at the time that population growth was slowing significantly, as workers moved back east at the end of the boom. This explains much of the cycle.

In New South Wales it is a similar story, although it is not quite as stark. The recent rate of home building in New South Wales is the highest in decades. At the same time, population growth is moderating, partly due to people moving to other cities, attracted by their lower housing prices and rents. By contrast, in cities where population patterns and the rate of home building have been more stable, prices, too, have been more stable.

Graph 6
Graph 6: Population and dwelling stock growth WA and NSW

Another demand-side factor that has influenced prices is the rise and then decline in demand by non-residents.

One, albeit imperfect, way of seeing this is the number of approvals by the Foreign Investment Review Board (Graph 7). In the middle years of this decade, there was a surge in foreign investment in residential property, particularly from China. This was apparent not just in Australian cities, but also in ‘international’ cities in other countries. In Australia, the demand was particularly strong in Sydney and Melbourne, given the global profiles of these two cities and their large foreign student populations. More recently, this source of demand has waned, partly as a result of the increased difficulty of moving money out of China as the authorities manage capital flows.

Graph 7
Graph 7: Foreign investment in residential real estate

The timing of these shifts in foreign demand has broadly coincided with – and reinforced – the shifts in domestic demand. However, making a full assessment of their impact on prices is complicated by the fact that international property developers were also adding to supply in Australia at a time of very strong demand. More recently, these developers have scaled back their activity.

Domestic investors have also played a significant role in this cycle. This is especially the case in New South Wales, which was the epicentre of strong investor demand (Graph 8). At the peak of the boom, approvals to investors in New South Wales accounted for half of approvals nationwide, compared with an average of just 30 per cent over the five years to 2010. More than 40 per cent of the new dwellings built in New South Wales recently have been apartments, which tend to be more attractive to investors.

Graph 8
Graph 8: Investor housing loan approvals

The strong demand from investors had its roots in the population dynamics. Low interest rates and favourable tax treatment added to the attraction of investing in an appreciating asset. The positive side to this was that the strong demand by investors helped underpin the extra construction activity needed to house the growing population. But the rigidities on the supply side, coupled with investors’ desire to benefit from a rising market in a low interest rate environment, amplified the price increases.

As I discussed earlier, there is an internal dynamic to housing price cycles, and this one is no exception. By 2017, the ratio of the median home price to income had reached very high levels in Sydney and Melbourne (Graph 9). Finding the deposit to purchase a home had become beyond the reach of many people, especially first home buyers if they did not have others to help them. At the same time, the combination of high prices and weak growth in rents meant that rental yields were quite low. So, naturally, momentum shifted. Given the big run-up in prices and the large increase in supply, a correction at some point was not surprising, although the precise timing is nearly impossible to predict.

Graph 9
Graph 9: Housing price to income

No discussion of housing prices is complete without touching on interest rates and the availability of finance. The low interest rates over the past decade did increase people’s capacity to borrow and made it more attractive to borrow to buy an asset whose price was appreciating. But the increase in housing prices is not just about low interest rates. The variation across the different housing markets indicates that city-specific factors have played an important role.

Recently, much attention has also been paid to the availability of credit. This attention has coincided with a noticeable slowing in housing credit growth, especially to investors (Graph 10).

Graph 10
Graph 10: Housing credit growth

It is clear there has been a progressive tightening in lending standards over recent years. The RBA’s liaison suggests that, on average, the maximum loan size offered to new borrowers has fallen by around 20 per cent since 2015. This reflects a combination of factors, including more accurate reporting of expenses, larger discounts applied to certain types of income and more comprehensive reporting of other liabilities. Even so, only around 10 per cent of people borrow the maximum they are offered. Sensibly, most people borrow less than what they are offered, so the effect of this reduction in borrowing capacity has not been particularly large.

It has also been apparent through our liaison that some lenders became more cautious last year. There was a heightened concern by some loan officers about the consequences to them and their career prospects of making a loan that might not be repaid if the borrower’s circumstances changed. So, lenders became more risk averse. This, along with greater verification of expenses and income, led to an increase in average loan approval times, although some lenders have invested in people and technology to address this. Our liaison suggests that application approval rates are largely unchanged.

Overall, the evidence is that a tightening in credit supply has contributed to the slowdown in credit growth. The main story, though, is one of reduced demand for credit, rather than reduced supply.

When housing prices are falling, investors are less likely to enter the market and to borrow. So too are owner-occupiers for a while. Consistent with this, the number of loan applicants has declined over the past year. There is also strong competition for borrowers with low credit risk, which is not something you would expect to see if it were mainly a supply story. This competition is evident in the significant discounts on interest rates on new loans compared with those on outstanding loans.

Even though the slowing in credit growth is largely a demand story, we are watching credit availability closely. It is perhaps stating the obvious to say that we want lenders who are both prudent and who are prepared to take risk. As lenders recalibrated their risk controls last year, the balance may have moved too far in some cases. This meant that credit conditions tightened more than was probably required. Now, as lenders continue to seek the right balance, we need to remember that it is important that banks are prepared to take credit risk. And it’s important that they have the capacity to manage that risk well. If they can’t do this, then the economy will suffer.

Impact on the Macroeconomy

This brings me to the issue of how developments in the housing market affect the broader economy.

Movements in housing prices affect the economy through multiple channels. They influence consumer spending, including through the spending that occurs when people move homes. They also influence the amount of building activity that takes place. Changes in housing prices also have an impact on access to finance by small business by affecting the value of collateral for loans. And finally, they can affect the profitability of our financial institutions.

Today, I would like to focus on the effect of housing prices on household consumption. My colleagues at the RBA have examined how changes in measured housing wealth affect household spending.[1] They estimate that a 10 per cent increase in net housing wealth raises the level of consumption by around ¾ per cent in the short run and by 1½ per cent in the longer run. They have also examined how this wealth effect differs by type of spending. They find that it is highest for spending on motor vehicles and household furnishings and that for many other types of spending the effect is not significantly different from zero (Graph 11). Part of the effect on spending on furnishings is likely to come from the fact that periods of rising housing prices are often associated with higher housing turnover, and turnover generates extra spending.

Graph 11
Graph 11: Wealth effects by consumption

Over recent years, spending by households has risen at a faster rate than household income; in other words, the saving rate has declined (Graph 12). The results that I just spoke about suggest that rising housing wealth played a role here. If so, falling housing prices, and a decline in measured household wealth, could have the opposite effect.

Graph 12
Graph 12: Household consumption and income

The more important influence, though, is what is happening with household income. For many people, the main source of their wealth is their human capital; that is, their future earning capacity. As I have discussed on previous occasions, growth in household income has been quite weak for a while. It is plausible that, for a time, this didn’t affect people’s expectations of their future income growth; that is the value of their human capital. So they didn’t change their spending plans much, despite their current income growth being weak, and the saving rate fell. However, as the period of weak income growth has persisted, it has become harder to ignore it. Expectations of future income growth have been revised down and it is likely that this is affecting spending.

My conclusion here is that wealth effects are influencing consumption decisions, but they are working mainly through expectations of future income growth. Swings in housing prices and turnover in the housing market are also having an effect, but they are not the main issue. This assessment is consistent with the data on housing equity injection (Graph 13). Over recent years, households have been injecting substantial equity into housing and have not been using the higher housing prices to borrow to support their other spending. This is in contrast to the period around the turn of the century, when households were withdrawing equity.

Graph 13
Graph 13: Housing equity injection

Given this assessment, developments in the labour market are particularly important. A further tightening of the labour market is expected to see a gradual increase in wages growth and faster income growth. This should provide a counterweight to the effect on spending of lower housing prices.

Taking these various considerations into account, the adjustment in our housing market is manageable for the overall economy. It is unlikely to derail our economic expansion. It will also have some positive side-effects by making housing more affordable for many people.

A related issue that the RBA has paid close attention to is the impact of lower housing prices on financial stability.

In 2017, APRA assessed the ability of Australian banks to withstand a severe stress scenario, in which housing prices declined by 35 per cent over three years, GDP declined by 4 per cent and the unemployment rate increased to more than 10 per cent.[2] The estimated impact on bank profitability was substantial, but importantly, bank capital remained above regulatory minimum levels. This provides reassurance that the adjustment in our housing market is not a financial stability issue. We have not experienced the very loose lending practices that were common in the United States before the housing crash there a decade ago. Nor have we seen significant overbuilding around the country.

Non-performing housing loans in Australia have risen recently, but they remain low at less than 1 per cent (Graph 14). The increase is most evident in Western Australia, where the unemployment rate has risen.

Graph 14
Graph 14: Banks' non-performing household loans

The national experience has been that low levels of unemployment and low interest rates allow most people to service their loans, even if weak income growth means that household finances are sometimes strained. Our estimate is that currently, less than 5 per cent of indebted owner-occupier households have negative equity, and the vast bulk of these households continue to meet their mortgage obligations. One factor that has helped here is that the share of new loans with high loan-to-valuation ratios (LVRs) has declined substantially (Graph 15). The nature of Australian mortgages – in which there is an incentive to make prepayments – has also helped.

Graph 15
Graph 15: Banks' high LVR lending

Monetary Policy

I would like to conclude with some words about monetary policy and highlight some of the issues we focused on at yesterday’s Reserve Bank Board meeting.

As you are aware, the current setting of monetary policy has been in place for some time. A cash rate of 1.5 per cent is very low historically and it is clearly stimulatory. It is supporting the creation of jobs and progress towards achieving the inflation target.

Looking forward, a key issue is the labour market. Achieving full employment is an important objective in its own right. But, in addition, a strong labour market is the central ingredient in the expected pick-up in inflation. We are expecting that as the labour market tightens, wages growth will increase further. In turn, this should boost household income and spending and provide a counterweight to the fall in housing prices. The pick-up in spending is, in turn, expected to put upward pressure on inflation. Of course, it is possible that inflation could move higher for other reasons, although the likelihood of this at the moment seems low. This means that a lot depends upon the labour market.

The recent data on this front have been encouraging. Employment growth has been strong, the vacancy rate is very high and firms’ hiring intentions remain positive. The latest reading of the wage price index also confirmed a welcome, but gradual, pick-up in wage growth, especially in the private sector.

Other indicators of the economy, though, paint a softer picture. We will receive another reading on GDP growth later this morning, but growth in the second half of 2018 was clearly less than in the first half. This is similar to the picture internationally. In a number of countries, including our own, there is growing tension between strong labour market data and softer GDP data. We are devoting significant resources to understanding this tension.

The Board will continue to assess the shifts in the global economy, trends in household spending and how the tension between the labour market and output indicators resolves itself. We have the flexibility to adjust monetary policy in either direction as required. There are plausible scenarios under which the next move in interest rates is up. There are also plausible scenarios under which it is down. At the moment, the probabilities appear reasonably evenly balanced. Given these various cross currents, the Board’s judgement remains that the most appropriate course is to maintain the cash rate at its current level.

Lordy, that is self serving poppycock. The truth is more along the lines that the RBA slashed interest rates by 200bps from 2011 to 2016, while also resisting any tightening in lending standards via macroprudential. That monetary recklessness triggered a mad boom in loose credit, mostly interest free, exacerbated by corrupt Aussie politicians turning a blind eye to dodgy Chinese capital.

Sure, there were some underlying supply and demand drivers but that’s pretty much the nub of it. Throughout, MB described these dynamics, eventually labeling it the “dumb bubble” at the frenzy peak in 2015:

So what makes Australia’s current property bubble so unique? Three reasons.

First, no other property bubble has ever had such a clear warning in advance of its blowoff. Just six years ago, the world writhed as a multitude of property bubbles spectacularly imploded. We saw it and it scared the bejesus out of us. Yet here we are, well short of a half generation later doing exactly the same thing.

Second, we have only just had the same long term property bubble bailed out by the biggest mining boom in history. Post GFC we rebuilt denuded savings and reliquified banks as mining poured billions into projects and jobs, while international markets collapsed all around. The serendipity was gigantic, easily big enough not just to protect us from the GFC but to redefine the basis of the economy towards sustainable prosperity for generations. But instead of being grateful and prudent we succumbed to the hubris of exceptionalism.

Third, the deteriorating economic circumstances of the commodities bust that we currently face have been obvious for three whole years (if not all along). We knew the boom was narrowly based in China. We understood the magnitude of investment. We knew the size of the supply expansion. We knew prices were going to fall a long way. We knew a capex cliff was coming. But authorities did nothing to prepare for the end point except to deliberately reinflate a housing bubble supposedly to float us blithely over the carnage.

Certainly the history of capitalism has seen bigger bubbles than Australian property. There have been stranger bubbles too.

But none is more dumb.

Phil Lowe was deputy head of the RBA throughout so why would anyone trust his view on rates and the bubble drivers today?

The cash rate will be cut very shortly as the fallout from tumbling prices overwhelms the economy and the labour market weakens. Just as happened in every other housing bust in history.

Comments

  1. “The truth is more along the lines that the RBA slashed interest rates by 200bps from 2011 to 2016, while also resisting any tightening in lending standards via macroprudential. That monetary recklessness triggered a mad boom in loose credit, mostly interest free, exacerbated by corrupt Aussie politicians turning a blind eye to dodgy Chinese capital.” – sums up why/what/how/when – short history of Oz RE bubble.

    • Strange Economics of "It wasn't me"MEMBER

      “Yet here we are, well short of a half generation later doing exactly the same thing.” and the RBA leads on 500K per year didn’t learn a single thing,
      and cut rates to the bone to pump it up .
      Now they say it was a bubble – 2 years ago everyone said “there is no bubble”…

  2. Good to see that Phil’s honeymoon period at MB is over, and he is getting his very well deserved share of the credit (haw haw) for the bubble.

    It’s not just Glenn’s bubble.

  3. proofreadersMEMBER

    “The cash rate will be cut very shortly as the fallout from tumbling prices overwhelms the economy and the labour market weakens. Just as happened in every other housing bust in history.”

    So, savers have to take it up the anus again for godbotherer Captain Glenn and his successor?

    • Dude, you’ve been posting this for months and the answer has always been yes! Hope you got some of your money out of AUD.

  4. Phil Lowe’s words are so soothing and eminently reasonable, we have everything under control, nothing has gone wrong so nothing can go wrong.

    And then you realise he’s restrained in a long-sleeved, buckled at the back jacket, secured with padlocks, chained to a gurney, in a lunatic asylum on Shutter Island.

    After years of wage growth predictions that never eventuated, years of prolific immigration and easy credit for all, years of rapidly rising house prices and surging debt to income levels, years of ever-increasing costs for essentials like utilities, healthcare and education, there’s still nothing for him and his fellow lunatics to see.

    All hail Phil Lowe, the next Ben Bernanke who called the forever of happiness and ticked the top.

    • DominicMEMBER

      When you get paid a million dollars a year it’s never your fault. Your salary and title are proof of it.

  5. I think someone has said it here before, but you know you’ve f’d up a country when you have to chart the price of life’s essentials (i.e. shelter) on a log scale

  6. Jumping jack flash

    “An obvious question to ask is what are the underlying, or structural, drivers of the large run-up in housing prices and the subsequent decline?

    There isn’t a single answer to this question. Rather, it is a combination of factors.”

    Typical banker.

    Regarding the large run-up in house prices, it is plainly and simply the debt.

    The debt, poured onto the housing market, made the prices grow.
    This growth was removed from any indicators that could have any effect on interest rates that would effectively govern the debt.
    Further changes were made, or existing loopholes exploited, so the debt growth enabled debt growth, giving the illusion of actual productivity, when in fact it was just infinite debt.

    There are a ton of flow-on effects from so much debt which ultimately cause wage stagnation (for the serfs, at least), and soaring costs of living – a general dog-eat-dog “grabby” attitude caused by the insane amounts of debt everyone has (or indeed, needs) now. An economy is simply a sum of the people participating in it. It is not much else.

    And as for the subsequent decline, well that is just as easy to explain: After a couple of decades of running the system on “infinite debt” mode, there is now too much non-productive debt that cannot be serviced without taxing the growth from other areas of the economy. That growth that is being taxed into nothing by the gigantic wad of non-productive debt includes all consumption, and therefore wages, and therefore debt creation.

  7. Even StevenMEMBER

    “The truth is more along the lines that the RBA slashed interest rates by 200bps from 2011 to 2016, while also resisting any tightening in lending standards via macroprudential. That monetary recklessness triggered a mad boom in loose credit, mostly interest free, exacerbated by corrupt Aussie politicians turning a blind eye to dodgy Chinese capital.”

    Exactly right.

  8. JspitzerMEMBER

    This is the first time I have seen that the RBA is genuinely not concerned about housing. I don’t think they would ever say if they were, but this is evidence they really believe it. He honestly believes the cheaper prices previously brought in buyers, not the fact that interest rates were slashed each time and usually a fhb scheme. Interest rates are not moving for quite a while.

  9. kannigetMEMBER

    There has always been something fishy about the supply side argument. Just did a quick look at some statistics released by the UK and Australian government statistics bureaus.
    UK has had a 30,000 to 40,000 dwelling unit completions ( ie. finished residence ) since 2008, with the appearance of about a 34000 average, only just reaching 40000 last qtr.
    AU had 30,000 for the sept qtr ( last available figure I could find ) which was a 5% increase on the last qtr, data covering periods back to 2008 are hard to glean from the ABS and there is a not about the “series” being marked not for publication as it has commercial sensitive data in it.

    The UK population has grown on average 0.72% or 460000 people per year.
    The AU population has grown on average 1.53% or 354000 people per year.

    So for the last 10 years Australia has been churning out new residential property at the average rate of 1 per 10 new people.
    The UK, at 1 per 13 new people….

    So we have built 30% more property per year per capita increase yet the property price index ( only stats I could find over this period ) has gone from 100 to 180 ( 80% growth in price ) and the UK only from 100 to 120.

    The index data was pulled from graphs so I am “guessing the actual numbers” but was conservative in the attempt to put a value on it.

    So we out built the UK by about 8 times the number of residences, had less population growth and outpaced their price growth by 4 times…..

    Please explain how supply is a problem? Did we start out with 20 people per house and are just trying to catch up or are we also building houses for the koalas, wombats and kangaroos?

    • @kanniget – supply was always keeping up with population growth, even exceeding for the best part of 60 decades. Supply is easy to measure, demand is not so easy unless you limit demand to population growth. That’s obviously deficient for a number of reasons not least of which is that 50% of credit funnelled into property was coming from investors (not new migrants or people coming of age looking to purchase).

      The S and D argument was convenient and easy to understand. It is also specious, and it’s been debunked numerous times. You, yourself, did a great job of simply drawing on some simple empirics to debunk it. Trouble is that most people aren’t interested in facts, case studies, or forming an opinion based on observation.

      I’m looking forward to all the interpretations of why the bubble burst in the near future.

    • One of your main problems is that you expect there to be a perfect linear relationship between shortage and price.

      You expect the most severe shortage to result in the highest prices.

      Not only do you expect this but you expect to see this perfect link in every time period that you sample.

      Another one of your main problems is that you search around the internet for “data” as a substitute for thinking things through.

      The UK and Sydney and much of Australia have a terrible shortage of housing relative to their own history decades ago. The UK problem started far earlier and UK people suffer some of the worst housing in the developed world. The UK situation is a disgrace with people renting attics to sleep in, and also living illegally in garden sheds.

      Australias problem is more recent. Around 1970-80-90 the scoundrels in charge decided to provide less good stuff per citizen. Less roads, less hospitals, less schools, and less land and less housing. This has made decent housing in Australia increasing difficult for citizens to obtain and hence has caused prices to rise to a level that reflects this difficulty.

      The price is not purely a function of shortage. If shortage is “S” and there is some constant “K” then PRICE = K * S is not correct.

      Average Aussies have been forced to compromise quality of housing and as all classes have shifted down in quality the most marked effect can be seen at the lowest level of housing – the worst and cheapest housing. At this point rents have risen the most, to take the highest % of household income. There is no linear equation, or google search to explain this. A brain is required.

      • kannigetMEMBER

        So your argument for assessing “I need to use a brain” is based on the idea that both countries had a poor housing situation to start with. Yes While this situation in Australia was more recent, it still was there before the bubble. You also ignored the fact Australia has a Shed load of more land available to develop.

        Our problem is NOT supply as evident from my analysis, its more likely the concentration of infrastructure and resources in a finite location and the resulting population crunch this creates coupled with the tax incentives and get rich quick mentality of the average specufestor. The fact we built so much more residential property per capita and our property value increases out paced the UK by 4 times shows its other factors, or a combination. If our infrastructure and economics were more diversely spread out we would not see the supply side constraints, we also would have built more residences…. of the 30000 completions each year very few are outside the capital cities where we have a land shortage resulting in sky slums and dog box accommodation becoming the norm. if we were more diversely located this would not have been the outcome.

        I was providing analysis of the ‘Supply is the problem argument” and I feel pretty confident that my googling resulted in a reasonably solid argument. I was not analyzing the other factors that are in play here just the supply vs demand as a simplistic equation as is always posited. Your right, it is not simply a supply and demand argument, but that was my point.

        Also, google was used to find sources of information and not to provide said information. I used it to find data buried deep inside the ABS, the UK ONS and a few other official sources. But I suppose any use of google to find information automatically disqualifies this information as being invalid. I heard the lead singer of ‘the prodigy” commited suicide over the weekend… I was curious about him so I used google to find background and it gave me all sorts of information about his age, where he grew up etc. but as I used google instead of my brain it must be all fake news and he never even existed.. its a pity.

        I think you possibly had some good points to your position but as you focused on ad-hominim attacks regarding my ability to think or use my brain then I am not sure if I can trust you thought your position through. its a pity.

  10. “The cash rate will be cut very shortly as the fallout from tumbling prices overwhelms the economy and the labour market weakens. Just as happened in every other housing bust in history.” – Amen brother.

  11. DefinitelyNotTheHorribleScottMorrisonPM

    There’s no agreed definition of bubble, therefore no-one can say there is one.

  12. DefinitelyNotTheHorribleScottMorrisonPM

    There’s no agreed definition of crash, therefore no-one can say there is one.

  13. DefinitelyNotTheHorribleScottMorrisonPM

    There’s no agreed definition of idiot PM, therefore no-one can say there is one.

  14. The question I havent been able to answer, why has the runup in RE happened sane time, in same way to most liberal-democratic nations? Eg, Australia, Canada, USA, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand etc? whatever the answer is, it will help solve the economic question of supply vs demand.

      • Yes, but why has it been allowed by these countries? And it is not just Chinese buying, foreigners of all nations allowed to buy RE without checks and balances supposedly in place. Not adding up….

  15. Need to Retyre

    I like their optimistic use of the House Price to Disposable Household Income ratio graph. In this Graph Sydney is sitting at a not-too-rediculous 6x. Demographia uses a Price to Income ratio to say Sydney was recently sitting at a very rediculous 12.9x. Did the RBA use some very creative accounting or just stuff up?