Leith van Onselen


Flammable cladding class actions mushroom

Back in March we learned that apartment owners were involved in two combustible cladding class actions backed by litigation funder IMF Bentham. Alucobond manufacturer 3A Composites and supplier Halifax Vogel Group are the subject of one of the class actions, whereas Vitrabond supplier Fairview Architectural is the subject of the other class action. Today The


Sydney’s rental vacancy rate soars

SQM Research has release its rental vacancy data for May, which saw rental vacancies across Sydney hit a record high 4.0%: Here’s the chart for Greater Sydney: CBD rental vacancies have also blown-out: Among the capital city CBD locations, Sydney CBD continues to blow out, now 16.2% in May, up from 13.8% in April. Melbourne


Export tourism industry facing “deep and protracted downturn”

Yesterday’s overseas arrivals and departures data from the ABS reported a record 99% monthly decline in overseas arrivals, with only 2,250 people arriving into Australia in April: This has prompted Australian Tourism Export Council MD, Peter Shelley, to warn that Australia’s export tourism industry is facing a “deep and protracted downturn” from COVID-19: “This is


Card spending signals modest consumption lift

Gareth Aird, Head of Australian Economics at CBA, has released card spending data for the week ended 12 June, which points to a modest improvement in spending: Key Points: CBA credit & debit card spend indicates that expenditure continues to pick up modestly as the economy reopens. A lift inspending on services has driven the


Retirees demand young Australians shoulder COVID-19 hit

We are beginning to see incessant lobbying from retiree groups demanding greater taxpayer support in the wake of COVID-19. Over the weekend, Fairfax published this special pleading from the Alliance for a Fairer Retirement System: Older Australians say the retirement system is in crisis and leaving them financially vulnerable, forcing them to call on the


ISA admits 12% superannuation will cost jobs and wages

Lobby group Industry Super Australia (ISA) has regularly attacked research suggesting that increasing the superannuation guarantee (SG) could cost wage rises and has frequently lobbied to raise the SG to 12%. However, a paper prepared by ISA for a presentation to the Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research in December indicates that higher super


International student arrivals plummet

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) yesterday released short-term migration data for April, which recorded a collapse in international student arrivals. According to the ABS, only 30 international students arrived in Australia in April, down from 10,980 in March and 14,970 in April 2019. In rolling annual terms, international student arrivals plunged by 93,190 (15%)


Links 16 June 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Coronavirus Caused Economic Devastation Globally- With or Without Lockdowns – National Interest Low-information ‘investors’ rule the stock market — at least until they lose every cent. – MarketWatch Millions of Jobs Could Be Permanently Lost in Reallocation Shock – Bloomberg Private Equity Gets a Big Win With U.S. Nod


Industry funds hit with $7.7b of early superannuation withdrawals

The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) has released its weekly update on the Morrison Government’s early superannuation release policy, which reveals that another $1.2 billion was withdrawn from Australia’s superannuation pool, taking total withdrawals to $14.8 billion: As shown above, nearly 2 million applications for early release have been paid averaging $7,475 per withdrawal. Looking


Overseas arrivals suffer biggest ever fall

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released visitor arrivals and departures statistics for the month of April, which reveals a massive decline in visitor numbers on the back of COVID-19 travel bans. The number of arrivals collapsed by 99% in April versus the same month last year, whereas departures also collapsed by 99%: In


ScoMo to shaft unemployed and hand billions to businesses

On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave another indication that the JobSeeker (formerly Newstart) payment to unemployed Australians would revert back to its pitiful $40 a day level from late September: Mr Morrison indicated there would be no extension of eligibility criteria and JobKeeper and JobSeeker, the latter of which was a doubling of the


Highrise Harry: HomeBuilder not generous enough

Multi-billionaire high-rise apartment developer, Harry Triguboff, has savaged the Morrison Government’s HomeBuilder subsidy for biasing detached housing over apartments: “This decision completely baffles us because 68 per cent of new homes completed in Sydney are actually apartments. This is where the jobs are”… Mr Triguboff questioned why the government was trying to manipulate the housing


Murdoch University drops action against Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk

Last year, Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk – Murdoch University’s only academic representative on the Senate (the University’s highest governing body) – appeared on ABC’s Four Corners and criticised Murdoch’s international student entry and teaching standards, which drove a 92% surge in international students numbers between 2017 and 2018. Dr Schroeder-Turk’s claims were corroborated by two other


ABS: Migrants lengthen Australia’s unemployment queue

The level of dishonesty in the immigration debate is something to behold. On Friday, the ABS released its Characteristics of Recent Migrants, November 2019 survey, which was quickly used as ammunition by SBS News to call for an increase in Australia’s immigration intake: Experts say the number of migrants arriving in Australia with formal post-schooling


$173b mortgage cliff beckons for Australia

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has released data on loan deferrals to 12 June. 772,600 loans have been deferred across Australia, including 480,700 mortgages: In dollar terms, $234.1 billion total loans have been deferred, including $173.5 billion of mortgages: According to the ABA, around one in 14 mortgage holders have had their repayments deferred. The


ScoMo opens Australia to sick international students

On Friday, the Morrison Government quietly extended its travel bans to 17 September, thus precluding Australians from travelling overseas: At the same time, the Morrison Government has hypocritically agreed to allow international students to travel into Australia from July: According to the report: Hundreds will arrive as part of a pilot program; Only states with


HomeBuilder to crash construction in 2021

CoreLogic’s head of research, Eliza Owen, warns that the Morrison Government’s HomeBuilder subsidy for new home sales and renovations could bring forward demand, resulting in a possible construction bust in 2021 once the stimulus ends: The scheme grants $25,000 dollars for new home builds and renovations where: The recipient is an owner occupier; The recipient


Mortgage slump points to falling property prices

Last week’s ABS mortgage commitments data for April revealed a sharp 4.8% decline, with owner-occupied mortgages falling 5.0% and investor mortgages falling 4.2%: The below charts plot this data against CoreLogic’s dwelling values index for May. This provides a useful guide to short-term price movements for the market, given the historically strong correlation between mortgage


Auction clearance results solid

CoreLogic’s preliminary auction report posted a solid rebound in the preliminary clearance rate (from 59.8% to 63.3%) off much higher volumes: Once final results are received later this week, we are likely to see the weighted average clearance rate fall to around 60%. Domain’s preliminary auction results were similar; albeit based on a smaller sample


Links 15 June 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: The fourth industrial revolution is rapidly grabbing hold – Enreads Are we moving towards a post-dollar world? – Economic Daily The Fed rightly rules out raising interest rates for the foreseeable future – Economo Wall Street’s party is over. Coronavirus fears are back – CNN Fears of second coronavirus


Aussies no better-off after 30-year recession free run

Economist Jason Murphy has questioned whether Australia’s near 30-year recession-free run has made us better-off: Well that’s it. Australia’s much-heralded three decades of growth are over. What have we got to show for it? How has Australia changed since a recession last racked our economy back in 1991-92? According to the World Bank we’ve climbed


Are property listings rising or falling?

Last week, SQM Research released its May Stock on Market data, which claimed that property listings had lifted “driven by older stock not selling” amid a “patchy market”: Overall, there was a rise in listings at the national level, driven by older stock not selling. We have recorded a 12% increase in listings of over 60


Auditor General slams Sydney’s $3.1b Light Rail farce

Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs Light Rail Project is a textbook example of Australia’s infrastructure failure. A 2012 Infrastructure NSW report warned CBD light rail had “no material speed benefits”, “is less flexible”, “does not offer significantly greater capacity”, and would be “significantly more expensive than bus services”. In 2018, the former head of Infrastructure NSW, Paul


Auction market faces its biggest test

CoreLogic has released the final auction clearance rate for last weekend, which retraced to 56.2% versus 61.3% last week; albeit off volumes that were depressed by the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend Holiday: According to CoreLogic: Last week’s clearance rate was lower than the previous week’s 61.3% when volumes were higher (856). The rate of withdrawn


Sydney landlords slaughtered as rental market implodes

A few weeks back, SQM Research managing director, Louis Christopher, described Sydney’s rental market as “very much a tenants market right now, it’s probably the biggest tenants market I’ve seen in my last 20-years“. This statement came as Sydney’s rents were reportedly plummeting across the city: If you’re looking for a new rental property now