Did the RBA nobble CoreLogic?

Via the ABC:

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) considered asking private firms to stop telling Australians about slumping property prices, when the early period of coronavirus panic stoked fears of a housing market crash.

In a release of highly classified documents from inside Australia’s central bank, economists discussed the need to treat the housing market as dysfunctional — and potentially shut down data sources letting investors know.

Lindsay David, the founder of LF Economics, said it was shocking the central bank would contemplate asking private sector data collectors to stop informing the public.

“I personally think it’s absolutely disgraceful conduct by the RBA that they have appeared to resort to giving what appears to be a manipulation of the information members of the public do and do not have access to in relation to house prices and debt.”

Stopping perceptions of a crash

In April, economist Nick Garvin wrote to colleagues warning them the bank should stop analysing the housing market as if it were operating normally, and calling for a halt — as happens to stock trading in emergencies.

“I think it’s dangerous for regulators to be reporting on housing prices as though the market is currently functioning,” he wrote.

Because real estate agents could not operate normally at the time — auctions and viewings were banned or highly restricted — the economist argued “so, ‘paused’ would be a fair classification”.

He went on: “We should also tell private sector data providers to follow this rule. If people start mistakenly thinking that we’re experiencing a housing market crash, it’s not going to help things.”

CoreLogic denies RBA demanded data removal

The key private sector provider of information about real estate in Australia is global giant CoreLogic (formerly RP Data).

Its daily index stopped being published on May 20.

But CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless denied it was because the RBA demanded it.

“We received no correspondence from any of our clients asking for our market-facing indicators to be removed from publication,” he said in a statement.

“The decision to remove the daily index series from publication on the CoreLogic web site was a cautionary move made due to concerns about the potential for volatility in the daily series at a time when sales activity had fallen by around one third in a month.

“This was a prudent decision at a time when sales observations had fallen sharply.”

Mr Lawless said the company had continued to publish an “end of month” index.

Production of the daily data has been continuing, unseen by the public, and will be re-published from today.

Property analysts are gobsmacked the RBA would consider reducing the transparency of information in a key investment market, particularly in an emergency period.

“Quite frankly as a property market information supplier, I am alarmed by intended communications for ‘private data providers’ to follow,” SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said.

“Was this prompting the real reason why CoreLogic suspended their daily index from public viewing shortly after? This raises serious questions on the independence market data providers have with the RBA.”

The RBA declined to respond to further questions.

I have no special insight into this but I’d set the odds on the RBA nobbling CoreLogic data very short indeed.

David Llewellyn-Smith


  1. Are you blind or something? Can’t you see Lawless denied it. Move on, nothing to see.

  2. BrentonMEMBER

    Has to be the largest coincidence of all time.

    In April:

    He went on: “We should also tell private sector data providers to follow this rule. If people start mistakenly thinking that we’re experiencing a housing market crash, it’s not going to help things.”

    Few weeks later, this same private sector data provider mystically pulls its core index.

    These farking kunts! Parasites, one and all.

    Anyone still saying this isn’t a bubble? Bricks are being shat in the halls of the omnipotent (allegedly).

    • BrentonMEMBER

      Is anyone aware of the exact date that the Covid warning first appeared? There was a warning up that said they may pull the index due to covid. It would’ve been a couple of weeks before they actually pulled it…. probably appeared the day after Nick “The Gutter Rat” Garvin made his suggestion.

  3. Goldstandard1MEMBER

    There is NO DOUBT. Yeah it must be bad to go to those lengths.
    Martin North did a nice summary on that last night. He’s been amazing at ‘cutting through the crap’ the last 3-6 months. So guys like Chris “Chocolate brings me” Joye make rediculous calls because he knows the bad news won’t be reported for 12 months. Classic.

    • Joye indeed: he claims to be behind the hedon(ist)ic index. Which celebrates the good times, ignores bad.

  4. Herman Milson

    Odd how rising house prices are not a problem. The moment they look like they are going to fall a little, the RBA wants to halt trading.

  5. My guess it the Banks were behind it. They had a stooge in the RBA trying to get them to do their dirty work.
    I’m sure a call from any one of the big 4 to Corelogic would have got the job done. Do the big 4 use Corelogic data to revalue their books? That would be a big incentive to hide bad information.

  6. God forbid people think the market is dysfunctional because prices are correcting downwards in response to a change in the demand/supply dynamic. Never mind the dysfunction of prices doubling in 7 years while wages stagnate.

    It is truly depressing that this story has barely registered.

    We have just had confirmation that the market is being rigged from the very highest levels.

    Our entire economy and polity is structurally, systemically corrupt. And the great ignorant rump are preoccupied with when they can start going to the footy again.

    Let it all burn.

  7. TailorTrashMEMBER

    When your picking up a million a year in salary
    You don’t want a crash on your watch
    Hide the the data …hang in a few more years
    Trouser the Dosh and skip to the speaking circuit
    …..some one needs to be fired for this ….but this is straya …..the Martin place cosy club looks after each other ….another G and T old chap ?

  8. Gee, will probably need a hacker to expose the truth on the goings on between Martin Place and CoreLogic.

    • Reus's largeMEMBER

      The youth should be rioting in the streets, the extreme high cost of housing is going to drag them down and ruin their lives how do they not see this!

      • Actually, we who are older with more life experience and less to lose should be rioting on the street on behalf of young people. Old people got all the benefits, hold all the levers, it’s the least we could do

        Just imagine it. But it won’t happen, human beings are awful

  9. Surely this says more about the prospect of serious repercussions of even a moderate pull back in prices than a bald face motivation to simply push prices higher, although I am sure they would like that too….

  10. Note the wording of the denial: “We received no correspondence from any of our clients asking for our market-facing indicators to be removed from publication,” he said in a statement. Riiight. So what about a phone call? Quiet meeting?

  11. Even less transparency? The desperation and this hamfisted, unsophisticated tactic are absolutely alarming.