Unconventional Economist

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Australian housing’s poor April

By Leith van Onselen RP Data-Rismark this morning released its daily home price indices for 30 April, which revealed that Australian capital city home values recorded a -0.73% fall over the month – the largest decline since January 2012 (-0.97%) and breaking two consecutive months of rises (+0.68% in February and +0.18% in March). The

12

APM’s house price revisions

By Leith van Onselen Australian housing is back! Or its it? A quick read of the latest Australian Property Monitor’s (APM) house price results for the March quarter (release below) suggests that the Australian housing market has shrugged-off recent woes and has returned to growth, rising by 0.9% in the March quarter: AUSTRALIA’S house prices

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Victoria confesses

By Leith van Onselen Earlier in the week I warned how the Victorian economy and Budget are being placed under increasing pressure from the state’s sharply slowing property market, which is acting to reduce growth and employment whilst hammering the state’s tax take. Today, we received additional confirmation of Victoria’s plight, when it was revealed

4

Rental vacancies flat in March

By Leith van Onselen From SQM research comes the news that Australia’s rental vacancy rate remained flat in March at 1.7% (up 0.2% year-on-year), with only 243 vacancies added during the month: According to SQM Reserach’s Managing Director, Louis Christopher: It appears that Australia’s rental market is remaining excessively tight for the time being with

21

Weekly RP Data house price index analysis

By Leith van Onselen If there’s one industry that will welcome the upcoming cut in official interest rates it’s the housing industry where, according to the RP Data-Rismark daily home values indices, overall Australian capital city home values continued to contract in the week to 25 April 2012, led by Melbourne (see below chart). According to RP

107

Here come the rate cuts

By Leith van Onselen As summarised earlier by Houses and Holes, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this morning released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for the March quarter 0f 2012, which showed an absence of inflationary pressures in the Australian economy: According to the ABS, headline CPI rose by only 0.1% in the

56

Increased mortgage enquiries pointing to housing bottom?

By Leith van Onselen Today, Veda released the results of their quarterly Consumer Credit Demand Index for January to March 2012. Below are the full details presented without comment. PRESS RELEASE Veda’s Quarterly Consumer Credit Demand Index January – March 2012 Consumer credit demand still soft but mortgage enquiries rise for first time since GFC

30

Victoria joins the PIIGS

By Leith van Onselen Earlier in the month, The Age reported that the property industry (including residential construction) is the most valuable industry in Victoria, contributing $36.9 billion, or 12.2%, to the gross state product of $301.4 billion, according to economic consultants AEC Group for the Victorian division of the Property Council of Australia (see below table):

0

Victoria’s Budget is in trouble

By Leith van Onselen Earlier in the month, The Age reported that the property industry (including residential construction) is the most valuable industry in Victoria, contributing $36.9 billion, or 12.2%, to the gross state product of $301.4 billion, according to economic consultants AEC Group for the Victorian division of the Property Council of Australia (see

4

PPI pushes case for rate cut

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released Producer Price Index (PPI) data for the March quarter, which has registered a -0.3% quarterly fall in final (stage 3) prices and an increase of only 1.4% over the year: The -0.3% fall in final (stage 3) prices was driven primarily by

8

Down goes Australia’s Terms-of-Trade

Recent trade data coming out of Australia has not been good. In January, Australia’s trade balance moved to a deficit of -$971m, a whopping turnaround of -$2,229 million from December 2011′s trade balance. And then in February, another deficit of -$480 million was recorded – a result that would have been much worse had the

27

China’s Achilles Heel

By Leith van Onselen The Economist today published an interesting article about the demographic time bomb that threatens to derail China’s economic development: Over the past 30 years, China’s total fertility rate—the number of children a woman can expect to have during her lifetime—has fallen from 2.6, well above the rate needed to hold a

34

Victorian building boom goes bananas

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released Building Activity data for the December quarter, which registered an 0.8% increase in the number of dwelling commencements in the December quarter to be down -15.7% over the year. However, there were large variations across the states and territories: New South Wales:

11

Weekly RP Data house price analysis

By Leith van Onselen Following on from this morning’s post on RP Data’s April Housing Market Update, below are some charts showing the weekly and monthly changes in the RP Data-Rismark capital city daily house price indices as at 18 April 2012. First, the weekly percentage movements: As you can see, it’s been an ordinary

42

Car sales rise strongly in March

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released new motor vehicle sales data for the month of March: On a seasonally adjusted basis, new motor vehicle sales rose by 4.0% in March to be 4.0% higher over the year. Most of the increase in sales over the month was driven

12

Unemployment gulf revisited

By Leith van Onselen Earlier this month, Australia’s unofficial provider of labour force data, Roy Morgan Research, released its employment figures for March, whereby it estimated that 9.3% of Australians were unemployed, down -0.4% from February 2012. As explained previously, Roy Morgan Research measures employment differently from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which is

7

Personal, commercial finance contracts in February

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this morning released the Lending Finance data for February, which registered a sharp fall in the value of personal and commercial financing commitments; although lease financing commitments registered a solid rise: In seasonally adjusted terms, the value of personal finance commitments fell -3.8% in February

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A poor quarter for rents

By Leith van Onselen Australian Property Monitors (APM) on Friday released its Rental Market Report for the March quarter (below) and, sadly for those hoping rising rents in will justify property investment in an era of flat capital growth, the quarter was a disappointment. All capital cities, with the exception of Hobart and Darwin houses,

79

REIV goes the full spruik

By Leith van Onselen “The greatest failing of the human race is the inability to understand the exponential function” – Dr. Alfred Bartlett And so it is, with the head of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) making the following absurd claim on Property Observer [my emphasis]: The recent release of the REIV’s calendar

25

Employment in detail

By Leith van Onselen As Houses & Holes reported earlier, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this morning released the labour force data for the month of March and it was very good. In seasonally adjusted terms, total employment increased 44,000 (0.4%) to 11,491,200. Full-time employment increased 15,800 (0.2%) to 8,080,400 and part-time employment increased

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RBA mis-diagnoses the US housing bust

By Leith van Onselen The Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) head of financial stability, Luci Ellis, last night delivered an eye-opening speech to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta 2012 Financial Markets Conference. Ms Ellis lectured the American audience about why the US housing market bubbled and then busted, and explained why the Australian housing

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NSW kills housing finance recovery

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the February Housing Finance data this morning, which registered large falls on the back of the hangover caused by the 31 December expiry of New South Wales (NSW) first home buyer (FHB) stamp duty concessions. As I noted previously, much of the recent bounce

23

IMF: High household debt worsens recessions

By Leith van Onselen Above is an interesting CNBC video interview with the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) senior economist, Daniel Leigh, who argues that “countries where there was a bigger build up in household debt had a much more painful recession, unemployment went up more, GDP fell significantly more and stayed lower for up to five

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Melbourne property remains weak

By Leith van Onselen Regular readers will know that I have become increasingly bearish on the Melbourne housing market over the past year. This is, in part, due to Melbourne: experiencing the biggest run-up in prices over 2009-10; having the lowest rental yields in the nation; and building far more homes than the other capitals

2

Engineering construction takes a breather

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released the Engineering Construction Activity data for the December quarter of 2011, which shows a slowing of activity in the quarter after the huge run-up over the year: In seasonally-adjusted terms, the value of total engineering construction work done fell -5.3% in the