Unconventional Economist

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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

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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 -0.34% 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

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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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,

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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

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

21

Bogan exodus surges

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released overseas short-term arrivals and departures figures for March, which contained mixed fortunes for the tourism industry. While short-term visitor arrivals increased by 1.9% over the month in seasonally adjusted terms, short-term resident departures rose by more, increasing by 3.0%. In the 12

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Weekly RP Data house price analysis

By Leith van Onselen It’s been a poor week for the Australian housing market, with the RP Data-Rismark daily home price index recording a -0.59% decline in national capital city home values in the week ending 9 May 2012. Australia’s three major capitals – Sydney (-1.20%), Melbourne (-0.55%), and Brisbane (-0.15%) – led the declines,

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Housing lobby gets no Budget relief

By Leith van Onselen Well it didn’t take long, the Federal Budget has only just been released (it’s 9.00pm Tuesday as I write this post), and already the Housing Industry Association (HIA) is complaining that the Government didn’t offer incentives aimed at reinvigorating Australia’s ailing home building market: The Housing Industry Association, the voice of

20

Trade balance shocker to hit Q1 GDP

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released trade data for the month of March, and it’s an absolute shocker. In seasonally adjusted terms, the balance on goods and services recorded a deficit of $1,587 million in March 2012, a rise of $833 million on the deficit recorded in February

13

Retail sales in perspective

By Leith van Onselen Yesterday’s strong retail sales figures, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), were generally greeted with enthusiasm in the media.  For instance, Bloomberg reported the result as follows: Australian retail sales rose at more than four times the pace that economists forecast, capping the best quarter since 2009 as consumers

4

Retail sales bounce back in March

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this morning released the retail trade data for the month of March, which registered a solid bounce in retail sales that beat analyst’s expectations. In seasonally adjusted terms, retail sales rose by 0.9% in the month of March and by 3.7% year-on-year – more or

17

Victoria’s total mortgages decline in April

By Leith van Onselen With the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) scheduled to release the March Housing Finance statistics next week, I thought it would be worthwhile to update readers on recently released Victorian Department of Sustainability & Environment (DSE) transfer and mortgage data for the month of April, which shows continued weakness in the

7

April AFG seasonal adjustments

Please find below another guest post from MacroBusiness reader, Nathan Webb. Enjoy! The whole reason that I started looking at seasonal adjustments of the AFG volumes was that I couldn’t stand the erratic and false headlines that AFG were producing.  It’s a symptom of them not understanding what actually drives their monthly totals, which is

2

Reserve Bank of WBC cuts 0.37%

By Leith van Onselen Just in, Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC) has cut its variable mortgage rate by 0.37%, which follows the Bank of Queensland’s, National Australia Bank’s, and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s announcements that they would reduce variable mortgage rates by 0.35%, 0.32%, and 0.40% respectively. WBC also announced that it would cut interest

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RBNZ moves to prevent asset bubbles

By Leith van Onselen In April last year, outgoing Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) governor, Alan Bollard, muted introducing ‘maco-prudential’ tools to prevent the formation of future asset price bubbles: “[New Zealand needs] to keep preparing for how we might deal with credit and asset price booms when they recur in the future,” Bollard