Unconventional Economist

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Melbourne property falls sharply in May

By Leith van Onselen RP Data-Rismark this morning released its daily home values index for 31 May, enabling us to calculate house price performance across Australia’s major capitals over the month. According to RP Data-Rismark, Australian capital city home values fell by -1.41% over the month, led by Melbourne, where prices crashed -2.66%, which is

55

This is what deleveraging looks like

By Leith van Onselen It’s starting to turn pear-shaped for the United Kingdom (UK) economy. Last week, the UK slid deeper into recession, with GDP falling -0.3% in the first three months of 2012 on an annualised basis, following a -1.2% annual rate of decline in the final quarter of 2011 (revised down from a

15

Two speed retail

By Leith van Onselen As noted by Houses and Holes earlier today, Australian retail sales fell -0.2% in the month of April, which was below consensus estimates of a 0.2% rise. For me, the most interesting aspect of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) release was the two-speed nature of the result. First, there was

67

Weekly RP Data house price analysis

By Leith van Onselen It’s been another poor week for the Australian housing market, with the RP Data-Rismark daily home price index recording a -0.24% decline in national capital city home values in the week ending 29 May 2012. Falls were experienced in Melbourne (-0.94%), Perth (-0.92%) and Adelaide (-0.28%), but Sydney (+0.41%) and Brisbane

76

Stop talking down the market!

By Leith van Onselen As an economist, few things peeve me off more than when a commentator blames the current malaise in the property market on people “talking down the economy”, rather than an objective analysis of the facts. A classic display of this was exhibited yesterday by Terry Ryder, the founder of hotspotting.com.au. In

88

Melbourne property’s winter chill

By Leith van Onselen It looks like winter has arrived early for Melbourne’s housing market, with auction clearance rates and sales volumes remaining lacklustre despite lower mortgage rates and sharply falling prices: Home owners and agents will find little to cheer about following another weak performance for the auction market yesterday. The Real Estate Institute

134

Australia’s Paradox of Thrift

By Leith van Onselen From Property Observer today comes news that the 50 basis point cut in official interest rates in May, of which around 35 basis points was passed onto borrowers, has failed to stimulate mortgage demand: The Reserve Bank has presented the carrot, but few borrowers appear to be biting, according to mortgage

115

What’s up with Adelaide housing?

By Leith van Onselen There’s something weird going on in South Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) housing finance statistics, the number of owner-occupied housing finance commitments (excluding refinancings) in South Australia are tracking near decade lows, some -26% below the five-year moving average (see below chart). And first home buyer demand

89

Weekly RP Data house price analysis

By Leith van Onselen It’s been another poor week for the Australian housing market, with the RP Data-Rismark daily home price index recording a -0.34% decline in national capital city home values in the week ending 23 May 2012. Falls were experienced in all capital cities except Sydney, with particularly large falls recorded in Melbourne

119

It’s the hit to wealth that’s hurting retail

By Leith van Onselen Eli Greenblat and Chris Zappone from Fairfax yesterday published an interesting article on the malaise currently facing the Australian retail sector, which employs roughly 11% of the Australian workforce: THE fragility of Australia’s retail sector, suffering from intense price competition, a strong dollar and consumers made increasingly skittish by the European financial crisis, has

8

AFG: Mortgage competition heating up

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Finance Group (AFG) yesterday released its Competition Index for May 2012, which signalled further gains in market share by non-major lenders. According to the report, non-major lenders 12-months ago accounted for around 22% to 23% of AFG mortgages each month, but this share has risen by 25% to 29%

147

What housing shortage?

By Leith van Onselen The latest episode of Inside Business, screened Sunday on the ABC, contained an interesting interview with Rob Sindel, chief of publicly listed company, CSR (video extract above). In the interview, Mr Sindel questioned the commonly held view that Australia is suffering from a housing shortage. Below are the relevant extracts from

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Can house prices rise when credit falls?

By Leith van Onselen Recent mortgage credit data coming out of New Zealand has been contradictory. According to the May 2012 Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) Financial Stability Report (FSR), released earlier in the month, New Zealand’s households appear to be deleveraging, as evidenced by the below charts: 1. household debt to income has

24

Weak housing hits WA Budget

By Leith van Onselen The Western Australian Government has released its 2012-13 State Budget which, like the Victorian Budget before it, contained some nasty downward revisions to projected stamp duty relief due to the sluggish housing market. From Property Observer: Western Australian Treasurer and Attorney-General Christian Porter says a flat housing market has cost the

8

Comparing stock on market

By Leith van Onselen Earlier this week, I reported how, according to RP Data, the number of homes for sale nationally in the week ending 6 May 2012 was some 13% (34,290) higher than in the corresponding week of 2011, with Victoria (up 18,879 or 36%) leading the way: I didn’t realise at the time,

71

Highrise Harry wants more people

By Leith van Onselen Meet Harry Triguboff. For those who aren’t aware, Mr Triguboff is also known as “High rise Harry” and is the head of Meriton. Meriton is the largest developer of apartments in Australia, with around 50,000 under their name. In early 2010, Mr Triguboff declared his interest in a “Big Australia” when

0

Business finance bounces in March

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this morning released the Lending Finance data for March, which registered a large increase in the value of commercial finance commitments and smaller rises in both personal and lease financing commitments: In seasonally adjusted terms, the value of commercial finance commitments rose 8.8% in March,

31

Two speed wages

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released the labour price index for the March quarter of 2012. According to the ABS, in trend terms total wages (excluding bonuses) increased by 0.9% over the quarter, with private sector wages rising by 0.9% and public sector wages increasing by 0.7%. The

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Weekly RP Data house price analysis

By Leith van Onselen It’s been another poor week for the Australian housing market, with the RP Data-Rismark daily home price index recording a -0.29% decline in national capital city home values in the week ending 16 May 2012. All major capitals, with the exception of Adelaide (+1.13%) suffered falls, with Perth (-0.64%) and Sydney

81

A bottom in QLD mortgage volumes

By Leith van Onselen Following on from yesterday’s post showing a modest recovery in Queensland first home buyer mortgage commitments, below are some charts showing similar trends for Queensland taken from Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) data on housing transfers and mortgage lodgements, which were released earlier this week. Like the Victorian Department

6

Car sales contract in April

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released new motor vehicle sales data for the month of April: On a seasonally adjusted basis, new motor vehicle sales fell by -0.7% in April, but were 7.3% higher over the year. The reduction in sales over the month was driven by passenger

23

State austerity to hit growth

By Leith van Onselen Last month, I noted how Australian State Government Budgets are under increasing pressure from falling stamp duty receipts on the back of the slowing property market: …last week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released Government finance statistics for the 2010-11 financial year, which revealed that Australia’s state and territory governments

151

First home buyers desert housing market

By Leith van Onselen Back in February, I made the following comments with regards to the upswing in housing finance commitments in December 2011 on the back of strong first home buyer (FHB) demand: No doubt the housing-addicted broader media will argue that the recent upswing in housing finance commitments, as well as the renewed interest from FHBs,

7

Mortgage finance flat in March

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the March Housing Finance data this morning, which was largely a non-event. According to the ABS, in seasonally adjusted terms, the number of commitments for owner occupied housing finance (46,275) rose by 0.3% in the month of March, with the total value of dwelling

48

Solid employment in detail

By Leith van Onselen As The Prince reported earlier, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this morning released the labour force data for the month of April, and like last month’s print, it is very good. In seasonally adjusted terms, total employment increased 15,500 (0.1%) to 11,501,000. Full-time employment decreased 10,500 (0.1%) to 8,062,800 and

5

Leith van Onselen on the wireless

By Leith van Onselen Yesterday, I had the pleasure of taking part in a radio interview on the Renegade Economists show, which aired on 3CR Community Radio. In a wide ranging interview, Prosper Australia’s Karl Fitzgerald (host) and I discussed, amongst other things, the evolution of MacroBusiness.com.au and Tuesday’s Federal Budget. The interview can be streamed here. Readers can also access past Renegade Economist