Unconventional Economist


Why direct road pricing is inevitable

Earlier this week, the Grattan Institute issued a media released explaining its proposal for a cordon-style congestion charge across both Sydney and Melbourne, which would be followed by direct user pricing five years after implementation: Drivers should be charged $5 to enter the Sydney and Melbourne CBDs in the morning peak and another $5 to


WA tips $50k FHB grants into lower Perth property prices

Last week, the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) joined forces with other property industry groups – the Property Council of Australia (PCA), Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), Master Builders Australia (MBA) and House Industry Association (HIA) – to demand a range of stimulus measures to boost Perth’s sagging housing market. These stimulus


Third world population growth = third world building standards

Too late the hero, the NSW Government has announced new reforms to the construction industry to “lift standards”: Homeowners who buy defective apartments will have an easier path to pursue damages under the Berejiklian government’s response to widespread problems in high-rise residential buildings. The long-anticipated building reforms, released on Wednesday, will also create a new


Morrison Government shafts Tafe for dead-end uni degrees

Two months ago, the Mackenzie Institute released research arguing that the Australian economy had been “hollowed out” by policies that preference higher education over vocational alternatives: The institute condemns the 2008 Bradley review – which spawned Australia’s recently abandoned demand-driven system of higher education funding – for producing a glut of graduates and exacerbating the funding


Vancouver house prices continue to dive

The Teranet-National Bank House Price Index for September has been released, which shows that Canadian house prices rose by 0.1% across the 11 major markets, with annual growth improving to 0.7%: However, prices in Vancouver continued to fall, declining by 0.5% in September and down 7.4% since peaking in July 2018. Meanwhile, the Real Estate


Domain: Australian house prices rocket

Domain has released its September quarter house price report, which recorded a strong rebound in dwelling values driven by rampaging growth across Sydney and Melbourne. As shown in the next table, house prices across the combined capitals surged by 2.7% over the quarter, driven by 4.8% growth in Sydney and 4.1% growth in Melbourne: However,


Why Australia’s dwelling supply will crash into 2022

CoreLogic’s head of research, Tim Lawless, has reaffirmed the commonly held view that Australia’s housing market is headed into shortage as dwelling starts collapse well below strong population growth: Housing starts have fallen below their decade average even as apartment construction levels remain elevated and a return to undersupply is inevitable, CoreLogic head of research


Sydney will die of thirst long before it hits population targets

The 2000s Millennial Drought was said to be the worst drought in Australia’s recorded history. This drought saw Sydney’s water storages plummet to around 33% capacity in 2006. Thirteen years on and history is repeating in Sydney, with water storages plummeting at an even sharper rate to just 48% currently, despite Sydney’s desalination plant operating


International student exports are “booming”

CBA’s senior economist, Gareth Aird, has published a new report on the explosive growth of international education exports, which are “booming” and “continue to grow at a remarkable rate”: Overview The improvement in Australia’s external position has been quite profound. Australia is now posting very large monthly trade surpluses and in Q2 19 a current


Links 24 October 2019

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: The IMF’s latest report (October 2019) claims that if there were a financial crisis only half as severe as 07-08, it would still cause serious problems because risky corporate debt has risen to $19 trillion. – IMF New bubbles, mounting debt: preparing for the coming crisis – Roar Mag


Australia’s not so private health insurers bleed taxpayers

With the percentage of Australians between the ages of 20 to 39 with private health insurance falling from 40% to 34% over the past five years, and older Australians claiming more than ever, private health insurance providers have demanded government subsidies to keep the industry viable. However, the health program director at the Grattan Institute,


Victoria’s new budget crisis: “massive” traffic fine collapse

Anyone living in Melbourne would know that we live in a nanny state. Speed limits have been lowered across the board with fixed ‘road safety’ cameras planted strategically to fine unwary motorists for travelling a few kilometres per hour above the lowered limit. Along with stamp duty, the Victorian Budget has also become reliant upon


Melbourne’s mega sprawl non-solution for hyper immigration

It’s amazing watching the idiotic non-solutions emerge for Australia’s hyper immigration-fuelled population growth. With Melbourne’s population already having increased by around 1.6 million people this century, and projected to balloon by another 5.2 million people over the next 48 years: University academics have proposed the hilariously stupid plan of building a series or regional cities


Fair Work reveals mass exploitation of migrant workers

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s latest annual report shows a “significant increase” in wage theft, especially among migrant workers: In 2018–19, we conducted 1256 investigations into more complex or significant matters (involving vulnerable workers, serious non-compliance and/or uncooperative employers)… The overall compliance rate for our audits for the year was 45%, with the most common contraventions


People flood northern NSW as water dries up

Earlier this year, the Mayor of Armidale Regional Council and his cronies celebrated as population growth into the Northern Tablelands surged by 4.3% over two years: Welcomed at both a local and state government levels… the increase of 1987 residents pushed the overall population past the 80,000 mark for the first time, to an estimated


Get ready for another structural housing shortage

Australians are going to have to get used to living in more cramped and crowded accommodation as housing supply once again falls below rampant immigration-fuelled population growth. That’s the view of Australia’s largest listed developer, Stockland, who has warned that housing shortages are developing from coast-to-coast: The country’s largest listed residential developer Stockland has warned


Malaysian scammers abuse Australia’s electronic visa system

Another report has emerged highlighting how Malaysians are manipulating Australia’s electronic travel authority (ETA) visa system to stay long-term in Australia: Australia’s population of 64,600 lapsed visa holders is more than triple the size of last year’s refugee intake, newly released Immigration data has revealed. Malaysian visa overstayers were the most highly represented, with around


Australia taps new ‘boom’ market for international students

Over recent months, it has become apparent that Australia’s six year boom in international students is under threat: Australia’s three main sources of international students – China, India and Nepal – are all facing stiff headwinds that will crimp enrolments in the years ahead. As noted previously, Chinese student visa applications have already begun to


Links 23 October 2019

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: World economy is sleepwalking into a new financial crisis, warns former Bank of England governor – The Guardian Goldman warns corporate buybacks are plummeting, ending a big source of buying power for the market – CNBC Blain: “I Am Convinced The Debt Markets Are About To Blow Up” –


Federal Government’s unfunded super liability blows-out by $50b

The Department of Finance has released data showing that the federal government’s unfunded superannuation liability topped $233.1 billion at the end of 2018-19, up $50 billion from $183.1 billion at the start of the financial year, due primarily to the cratering of interest rates. Meanwhile, the Future Fund’s assets rose to $165.7 billion in the


Economist: Drought to drive population from regions to cities

Who would have thought: the drought is driving people from the regions to the cities, the opposite of the federal government’s ‘migrants to the bush’ policy. From The SMH: Leading regional economist, Terry Rawnsley, has warned fears about water could discourage Sydney residents from moving to regional towns at the same time as the economic


Limp Labor waves through wage crushing FTAs

ACTU president Michele O’Neil has criticised Labor’s decision to support legislation to establish free trade agreements (FTAs) with Indonesia, Hong Kong and Peru. She says the trade deals breach Labor’s national policy platform. Unions’ concerns about the trade deals include the clauses regarding investor-state dispute settlement and labour market testing. The legislation was passed by


Aussies want feds to butt out of ACT’s marijuana legalisation

Last month, the ACT Legislative Assembly passed laws legalising the recreational use of marijuana, which will allow residents aged over 18 to possess up to 50 grams and grow two plants from next year. This has garnered a strong backlash from the federal government, which labelled the legislation “dangerous” and has threatened to block the


‘Tiny homes’ are proof housing policy has failed

Amid the widespread media gushing over ‘tiny homes’, it is nice to finally read an honest appraisal on why they are a retrograde solution for chronic housing policy failures: Finally, an ingenious solution to a housing crisis that is sapping the quality of life of an entire generation: the humble van. More than 21,000 Britons


Stimulus demanded as WA property market crashes to 30-year low

Perth’s housing crash has been well documented on MB. According to CoreLogic, Perth’s house price bust has dragged on for more than five years, with values down more than 21% – easily exceeding prior busts: Perth rents have also collapsed by 22% since December 2014, according to the ABS: Now, newly released data from Landgate


Traitor McGowan demands more low-wage migrants for WA

Two years ago, we praised WA Premier, Mark McGowan, for standing up for workers and demanding the federal government remove Perth from the Regional Sponsorship Migration Scheme, thus effectively preventing a pathway for overseas workers to gain a visa: At the time, the McGowan Government also trimmed the state’s skilled migration list, slashing it to


Australia tumbles down global wealth rankings

Credit Suisse has released its 2019 Global Wealth Report, which reveals that the recent housing bust has pushed Australia down the wealth rankings, falling from second place to fourth: According to Credit Suisse: Household wealth in Australia grew quickly between 2000 and 2012 in USD terms, except during 2008. The average annual growth rate of


Stamp duty crash wipes $2.6b from NSW Budget

The NSW Office of State Revenue has released stamp duty data to September, which reveals a massive $1.59 billion (25%) decline over the past year and a $2.58 billion (35%) decline since stamp duty receipts peaked in September 2017: The slump in stamp duty receipts follows a sharp 22% decline in property transfers in the