Leith van Onselen


Melbourne is already Australia’s biggest city

The AFR reported that Melbourne’s population is projected to overtake Sydney’s population by 2026: Higher growth is being driven by rising birth rates, strong international migration and people moving from interstate and regional hubs, pushing Melbourne’s and Sydney’s populations to about 6 million by mid-2026. But Melbourne’s population will pass Sydney’s by the end of


Property listings collapsed in December

SQM Research has released its Stock on Market report for December, which reports a massive 14.8% slump in property listings nationally over the month as well as a 12.0% decline over the year: As shown above, all capital city markets experienced big falls in property listings. Seasonality would obviously have played a big role in


Aussie households are furiously repaying debt

The latest credit data from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) revealed that both personal and mortgage credit growth has tanked, with personal loan growth declining by 4.9% in the year to November 2019 and mortgage growth falling to just 2.9% – the lowest level in recorded history: The decline in mortgage credit growth comes


Construction jobs get stay of execution

Throughout much of 2019, MB warned that Australia’s construction industry was facing heavy job losses. For example, we wrote the following in our Christmas Special Report, released last month: The biggest single downside risk to the Australian economy is the downturn in construction activity. Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF), basically net investment, was already falling


CoreLogic weekly house price update: Frothing

In the week ended 19 December 2019, the CoreLogic 5-city daily dwelling price index, which covers the five major capital city markets, surged another 0.38%: The rise in values was fairly broad-based, but again driven by Sydney and Melbourne: So far in December, dwelling values have risen by 0.92%, again driven by Sydney and Melbourne:


Australia’s population ballooned by 382,000 in 2018-19

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) yesterday released its Australian Demographic Statistics for the June quarter of 2019, which revealed that Australia’s population continues to grow manically led by never-ending strong net overseas migration (NOM), mostly into Sydney and Melbourne. According to the ABS, Australia’s population rose by 1.5% in the year to June 2019,


ABS employment in detail: Dead cat bounce

As summarised earlier, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today released its labour force report for November, which registered a 39,900 increase in total employment and a decrease in the headline unemployment rate (from 5.3% to 5.2%). In trend terms, the unemployment rate also fell from 5.3% to 5.2%: Again, total employment rose by a


As Tamworth’s dams run dry, planner demands 40,000 new migrants

The NSW regional city of Tamworth is currently at Stage 5 water restrictions, with the Chaffey Dam at just 14.9% capacity after experiencing record low inflows. And yet the city’s outgoing chief planner believes Tamworth needs to rapidly increase its population from 60,000 currently to 100,000: THE council’s outgoing chief planner says the push to


ANZ: Construction bust to trigger housing shortages

ANZ forecasts that Melbourne and Sydney are facing housing shortages as dwelling construction plummets amid ongoing strong population growth: ANZ analysis said that there is little sign so far that higher prices for established homes are driving a pick-up in construction… According to senior economist Felicity Emmett, the decline in approvals suggests that construction will


Sydney’s rental vacancy rate launches

SQM Research has released its rental vacancy data for November, which registered a 0.1% rise over the month but a 0.1% fall over the year: As shown above, Sydney now has the highest vacancy rate in the nation followed by Darwin, which helps to explain their significant rental falls: According to SQM Managing Director, Louis


Links 18 December 2019

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: A “Market” That Needs $1 Trillion In Panic-Money-Printing To Stave-Off Implosion Is Not A Market – Zero Hedge UN climate summit ends with no deal to regulate global carbon markets – Global News The global Fintech ecosystem in 2019 – Nua Dox U.S. Stock Market Hits New Highs on


UK FTA to prise open Australia’s borders

Australia and the UK are tipped to start formal discussions on a free trade agreement (FTA) once the UK leaves the European Union. It is rumoured that a trade deal could include visa-free travel between the two countries: Australian workers could enjoy visa-free travel to the UK under a post-Brexit free trade agreement, with both


Frydenberg spins GDP fairy tales

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg did his best to spin yesterday’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), claiming Australia’s GDP growth is still among the strongest in the developed world. Here’s Frydenberg on Channel 9: Well there’s always work that we continue to do to strengthen the Australian economy, but if you look at these numbers, it


Housing finance surged 2% in October

The ABS has released a new housing finance series that replaces the old format. Therefore, this month’s report will not include the usual flashy charts, as these will need to be calibrated for the new data sets. Instead, below are charts and commentary directly from the ABS. Commentary: New loan commitments for housing rose by


High-rise Harry orders Sydney’s wealthy east to absorb migrants

‘Highrise’ Harry Triguboff has told Sydney’s wealthy eastern suburbs that it must accommodate more migrants and accept greater densities: Leading property developer Harry Triguboff says Sydney’s eastern suburbs need to absorb more people to take the pressure off the city’s west. The billionaire Meriton founder has also challenged the state’s politicians to build more homes


Mathias Cormann dances on household’s income grave

Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann, went to extraordinary lengths yesterday to spin the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), claiming repeatedly that household disposable incomes were rising at their fastest pace in a decade: Household disposable income has risen at its fastest rate in more than a decade and Australia has maintained its AAA credit rating…


Sydney’s water crisis deepens

Sydney’s water storages continue to plunge at a rate that makes the Millennial Drought look like child’s play: There’s no end in sight either, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, with no significant rainfall predicted until April. And when rain does finally arrive, the lake which supplies 80% of Sydney’s water is facing possible contamination


LVO demolishes Melbourne’s rat wheel economy on ABC Radio

Yesterday evening I was interviewed on ABC’s Drive Program (above) debunking SGS Economics and Planning’s new report claiming that Melbourne is Australia’s “economic powerhouse”. My arguments were based on yesterday’s article entitled “Melbourne ‘economic powerhouse’ delivers falling living standards”, which contains evidence supporting my claims. I did make one minor error in the interview, however,


‘Big Australia’ immigration means you pay more for less

South-East Queensland (SEQ) lot sizes are projected to shrink as the region welcomes an additional 2 million residents over the next 20-years – equivalent of adding a Perth to the existing population: As south-east Queensland prepares to welcome almost 2 million new residents in the next 20 years, the region’s lot sizes continue to shrink.


Sydney’s official population projection upgraded

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment has updated its population projections for Sydney, with the city’s population revised upwards by 240,000: As shown above, Sydney’s population is projected to increase by 2 million people in the 22 years to 2041 – equivalent to adding a Perth or around five Canberra’s. Planning Minister, Rob


Links 17 December 2019

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: UN climate summit ends with no deal to regulate global carbon markets – Global News Productivity Does Not Explain Wages – Evonomics – Evonomics Villains or visionaries? Hedge funds short companies they say ‘greenwash’ – Reuters Artificial Intelligence And Blockchain: A Perfect Match – Medium Inequality: Your slice of


Sydney’s $2.9 billion light rail to nowhere

Sydney’s farcical $2.9 billion Eastern Suburbs Light Rail Project has had a rough opening with passengers labelling it “too damn slow”: With a 50-minute journey between Randwick and Circular Quay, many passengers noted it would be quicker to drive or get the train. According to Google Maps, the 7.3km trip takes only 15 minutes by


Superannuation rentiers to dominate Aussie economy

Rice Warner forecasts that Australia’s superannuation industry will have $7 trillion worth of assets under management by 2034, compared with $2.7 trillion at present. The firm also expects the sector to eventually be dominated by a handful of ‘megafunds’ that will dominate the Australian economy: The report predicts that the superannuation industry will dominate the


Visa farce mushrooms with nurses added to shortage list

For more than five years, MB has regularly ridiculed Australia’s ‘skilled’ visa system, which we have proven is poorly targeted, ineffective, and is failing in its stated purpose of alleviating chronic ‘skills shortages’ across the economy (see here). On Friday, the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business published a Traffic Light Bulletin outlining


Melbourne “economic powerhouse” delivers falling living standards

According to SGS Economics and Planning, Melbourne is fast closing in on Sydney as Australia’s “economic powerhouse”: Melbourne is driving national economic growth… SGS Economics and Planning found that during 2018-19, the Melbourne economy alone accounted for 40 per cent of Australia’s total growth… Australian GDP expanded by 1.9 per cent but Melbourne’s own GDP


Household savings lift will drain economy

The ANZ-Roy Morgan Financial Wellbeing Report has been released, which claims that Australian household savings are running at five-year highs: Figure 8 shows that the amount of savings Australians hold in deposit and transaction accounts has increased, with mean savings rising from $29,430 in December 2014 to $41,262 in December 2018, and median savings increasing


SQM: House price boom won’t save economy

In an interview with CNBC, SQM Research’s managing director, Louis Christopher, claims that Australia’s authorities are hoping the rise in Australian dwelling values will feed through to greater confidence in the economy. However, Christopher has “serious questions” about that view because the housing recovery is not creating more jobs. Instead, unemployment is set to rise,


Migrant wage theft entrenched across Aussie economy

Fairfax’s Adele Ferguson continued her four year campaign against wage theft over the weekend, which mostly involves migrants on temporary visas: At 7-Eleven thousands of workers were students on visas who were underpaid… Since the 7-Eleven scandal there have been many more companies caught up in underpayment issues including Domino’s, Caltex, Retail Food Group, Pizza