Global Housing


Is London housing a boom or a bust?

By Leith van Onselen Earlier this week, FT Alphaville published an article questioning the notion that London housing is in the midst of another boom/bubble, instead arguing that prices may have crashed: London is in the grip of a terrible and deep housing bust that has only just begun to turn. Greater London house prices,


Are we witnessing the end of suburbia?

By Leith van Onselen For decades now, an aray of commentators and academics have written-off suburbia, claiming that households are increasingly choosing to live in the inner city in order to be closer to night life and amenities. Planners and governments have also climbed on board, in many instances errecting barriers to contain the urban


The urban consolidation end-game

By Leith van Onselen I have written previously how the UK housing system is arguably the worst in the developed world. Thanks to the Town and Country Planning Act 1946, the right to develop has been virtually nationalised and the UK is ruled by NIMBYs. All of the major cities and towns in the UK


Bank of England urged to curb mortgage lending

By Leith van Onselen The UK housing market looks to be heating-up once again following the implementation of the government’s “Help-to-Buy” shared equity scheme for first home buyers (FHBs) and the Bank of England’s “Funding-for-Lending” program, which subsidises lenders’ borrowings provided they pass on the loans to households and firms. According to three main housing


Australia must look to Texas on housing policy

By Leith van Onselen The New Zealand Initiative last week released a brilliant new report entitled Different Places, Different Means: Why Some Countries Build More Than Others, which provides a comprehensive assessment of housing supply systems in four markets: Britain; Switzerland; Germany; and Texas. As argued by me many times before, the report describes Britain’s


Canadian house prices set record as debt grows

By Leith van Onselen The Canadian housing market continues to reach for the stars. After house prices fell for six consecutive months to February 2013, following the introduction of a range of macroprudential controls on high loan-to-value ratio mortgage lending, values have since for six straight months, pushing Canadian housing values to their highest level


House prices, interest rates and land supply

Cross-posted with permission from Dr Alan Moran at Catallaxy Files It is astonishing the disconnect between those looking at housing from the financial market perspective and those of us looking at the regulatory barriers. Christopher Joye in the AFR today discusses a debate he has been having with fellow self-proclaimed housing guru Gerard Minack.  Apparently these


NZPC: Growth boundaries push-up land prices

By Leith van Onselen I’ve just come across a New Zealand Productivity Commission research note attempting to quantify the effect of Auckland’s urban growth boundary (called the “Metropolitan Urban Limit” or MUL) on land prices. The results indicate that Auckland’s MUL has significantly increased urban land prices in general, with land prices in the lower part


Canadian house prices hit record as risks build

By Leith van Onselen The Canadian housing market continues to bounce back from a mini slump brought about by a range of macroprudential controls introduced last year on high loan-to-value ratio mortgage lending, which including shorter maximum loan amortisation periods (i.e. 25 years instead of 30 years). After house prices fell for six consecutive months


Dutch housing bust intensifies

By Leith van Onselen I have noted previously (here, here, and here) how the Netherlands housing system all but guarantees unaffordable housing and a susceptibility to housing bubbles, via: ridiculously easy credit, with a third of mortgages guaranteed by the government; mortgage interest tax relief and generous subsidies offered to home buyers; a dysfunctional rental


Canadian house prices set new record

By Leith van Onselen Back in February, the Canadian housing market looked to have hit a wall. The Government had recently implemented a range of macroprudential controls on high loan-to-value ratio mortgage lending, including shorter maximum loan amortisation periods (i.e. 25 years instead of 30 years), and house prices had fallen for six consecutive months


NZ Finance Minister argues to free-up land supply

By Leith van Onselen New Zealand’s Finance Minister, Bill English, has today firmly argued against urban containment policies that are contributing to the current blowoff in the Auckland house price bubble. From Finance Minister Bill English has spoken out against “compact cities” saying that they drive up house prices. In a speech to the


Economists still blind on the housing supply-side

By Leith van Onselen has today posted an interesting article quoting Westpac Bank economists on the Auckland housing market, where the stratified median house prices hit a record $634,000 in June (see next chart). From The rapidly heating Auckland housing market is being driven primarily by buyers’ expectation of capital gains – not


Bridging the housing-infrastructure divide

By Leith van Onselen’s Bernard Hickey published an interesting article over the weekend arguing that New Zealand’s councils, which are primarily responsible for planning and land supply, should be paid a share of income taxes rather than just receive rates in order improve incentives for development: Developers, builders, renovators and potential home buyers are


It’s time to levy the land

By Leith van Onselen The Economist over the weekend published a great primer on the benefits of broad-based land taxes: Taxing land and property is one of the most efficient and least distorting ways for governments to raise money. A pure land tax, one without regard to how land is used or what is built


Texas wins on housing

By Leith van Onselen Earlier this year, Trulia published an interesting article on how thousands of Californians are emigrating to other states due to exorbitant housing costs, with many choosing to settle in Texas: A constant debate in California politics is whether jobs and people are leaving the state… Here are the basic facts. In


US house prices boom

By Leith van Onselen The Case-Shiller 20-city house price index for April 2013 was released over night, which revealed an ongoing recovery in US house prices, with prices lifting by a seasonally-adjusted 1.6% over the month, 4.9% over the quarter, and 12.0% over the year. It was the biggest yearly price gain since March 2006


An 8-step plan for housing affordability

By Leith van Onselen The Bank of New Zealand’s chief economist, Tony Alexander, has today provided a radical eight-point plan to restore housing affordability. From Alexander says the optimal solution to the problem “is a quick jump in house supply combined with reductions in building materials costs”. His suggestions are: Initiate a large builder


The UK housing conundrum

Cross-posted from Coppola Comment House prices in the UK are too high. How much too high they are depends on where you are: house prices have been rising in London because rich Asian businessmen and French aristocrats are buying up prime real estate as a safe haven investment for their filthy lucre, apparently. But outside


UK doubles down on housing disaster

By Leith van Onselen Regular readers will recognise that I am highly sceptical of the UK housing system, which I believe operates world’s worst practice when it comes to social and economic outcomes. A key tenet of the UK’s housing malaise is its dysfunctional supply system, which has become increasingly constipated following sixty years of