Leith van Onselen


SQM hits “inaccurate” RP-Data daily index

Please find below a press release from SQM Research questioning the efficacy of the RP Data-Rismark daily home values index: Upon the back on recent commentary released by RP Data-Rismark in relation to increasing house prices in Australia, property research house SQM Research would like to take this opportunity to formally state our contrasting beliefs


Auction clearance rates going sideways

By Leith van Onselen Auction clearance rates over the weekend were 59% in Australia’s two major markets – Sydney and Melbourne. This compares to a year-to-date average of 62% and 61% respectively, according to the Real Estate Institutes of New South Wales and Victoria. In Victoria – usually the auction capital of Australia – the


Housing credit plumbs record lows

By Leith van Onselen The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has just released the private sector credit aggregates, which registered a small increase in total credit in the month of May, but the equal second lowest monthly housing credit growth in the series’ 35-year history and the lowest annual mortgage growth ever recorded: Total credit


Defending the housing shortage

By Leith van Onselen Last week’s revelation that the number of households disclosed in the 2011 Census was some 900,000 less than that assumed by the National Housing Supply Council (NHSC) appears to have prompted a rear guard action from one of Australia’s key housing shortage proponents – the ANZ Bank. Over a number of


Wakelin’s Eureka moment on Melbourne property

By Leith van Onselen It seems everyone is turning on the Melbourne housing market. Earlier this week, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) capitulated, noting that Melbourne would see no house price growth in the short-term and, at best, only moderate price growth over the medium-term. The REIV’s analysis was joined by the generally


Flipping a thing of the past

By Leith van Onselen As noted previously, the Budgets of Australia’s state governments are suffering badly from a sharp drop in stamp duty receipts on housing transfers, which in 2011-12 are expected to be -20% below the levels of 2007-08 (see below chart). In addition to lower housing prices, a key driver behind the fall


Auction clearance rates lacklustre

By Leith van Onselen Auction clearance rates over the weekend remained lacklustre in Australia’s two major markets. According to the REIV, Melbourne recorded an auction clearance rate of 56% over the weekend, which was the same as the previous week (revised down from 57%) but below the year-to-date average of 61%. The number of reported


REIV capitulates

By Leith van Onselen The release of the 2012 REIV State of the Victorian Property Market report (below) provides a sobering assessment. According to the REIV, transaction levels – both private sales and auctions – are well down on the five-year average (see below table). Which, given that transaction volumes typically drives prices, suggests that


Weekend links: European agony

Global Macro: Reasons to fear Wall Street’s high-tech traders (Fortune) Pimco’s Bill Gross warns of risk assets as Aberdeen avoids stocks (Bloomberg) Moody’s tilts playing field toward safe-haven banks (AFR) United States: Pretty high hurdle to QE3: Fed’s Bullard (Reuters) University looks like a bubble that is about to burst (Financial Times) The Fed And


Links 22 June: Global sloth

Global Macro: Moody’s said to be poised to announce bank downgrades today (Bloomberg) United States: Existing Home Sales in May: 4.55m, 6.6 months of supply ( Calculated Risk) Unemployment Claims little changed, 4-week avg hits high (Calculated Risk) Philly Fed Reports Weaker Mid-Atlantic Business Conditions (Wall Street Journal) Citigroup Faces $5 Billion Hit on Dollar’s


Charting Australia’s population growth

By Leith van Onselen Following the release yesterday by the ABS of the Australian Demographic Statistics for the December quarter of 2011, I decided to crunch the numbers to determine how Australia’s population and migration numbers are tracking. According to the ABS, Australia’s population grew by 1.4% in the 2011 calendar year, which was the


Links June 21: Soured milk

Global Macro: Bond yields fall after G20 summit (BBC Business) Big investors eye loading up on hedge funds: survey (Reuters) United States: Parsing the Fed: How the Statement Changed  (Wall Street Journal) FRB: Press Release–Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement (Federal Reserve) The Fed’s second best solution | The A-List  (Financial Times) MBA: FHA Mortgage Refinance


WA drives population growth

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released the Australian Demographic Statistics for the December quarter of 2011, which recorded an increase in the estimated rate of growth of Australia’s population to 1.4% (302,600 persons) over the 12 months to December 2011. This was the fastest rate of population growth


Rental vacancies flat in May

By Leith van Onselen SQM Research has released its rental vacancies report for the month of May, which revealed that the vacancy rate nationally has remained flat at 1.8%, with Melbourne (3.1% vacancy rate) once again leading the nation. Year-on-year however, vacancies have risen by 7,270, with the national vacancy rate increasing by 0.2% since


Links June 20: All over the shop

Global Macro: Hedge funds bet on big Bunds sell-off (Financial Times) Austerity Doesn’t Pay as Debt Markets Ignore Rating Cuts (Bloomberg) US markets watchdog hits at ‘risky’ London (Financial Times) United States: Are US Treasury Bonds in A Bubble? (Forbes) Banks Worry As Breakup Talk Revived After JPMorgan Loss (Bloomberg) Credit growth expanding in the


Links June 19: Fading joy

Global Macro: Do not put your faith in the false deities of economists (Financial Times) Just how at-risk are investment managers to the disruption of algorithmic investment models? (Absolute Returns) Egyptian Elections And Israeli Escalations (Zero Hedge) Roubini: The Global Perfect Storm (Pragmatic Capitalism) “Today’s retirees are living through what might prove to have been


Auctions clearance rates weak

By Leith van Onselen The recent 75 basis points of cuts to official interest rates since early – May appears to have done little to reinvigorate the auction market, which turned in a lacklustre performance over the weekend, particularly in Melbourne. According to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV), Melbourne recorded an auction clearance


QLD mortgage volumes off the canvas

By Leith van Onselen Last week, the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) released data on housing transfers and mortgage lodgements. Like the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment statistics analysed last week, which showed ongoing deleveraging, the DERM data is current to May 2012, so it leads the Australian Bureau of Statistics


Links June 18: All eyes on Greece

  Global Macro: There is only so much central banks can do (Financial Times) Welcome to the next financial crisis (marketplace.org) Regulators Weigh Easing of Global Bank Rules (Wall Street Journal) “A Global Perfect Storm” by Nouriel Roubini (Project Syndicate) Hedge fund closures hit 2-year high in 1st quarter (Reuters) Russia’s Northern Sea Route cuts


RP Data June market update

By Leith van Onselen RP Data has released its June wrap of the Australian housing market (video below) which, as always, makes for some good viewing. The video covers housing market conditions and prices as at end-May 2012, where dwelling values fell by -1.4% over the month, which was the worst result since 2008 at


Victoria deleverages

By Leith van Onselen Last Friday, Victorian Department of Sustainability & Environment (DSE) released ransfer and mortgage data for the month of May, which showed continued weakness in the number of housing transfers and finance commitments. First, below is a chart showing the rolling annual number of housing transfers from May 2003 to May 2012: