14

Start the blame game

When the real estate market was in full swing they were best of friends.  A new client would approach the bank for a loan, the bank would ring the valuers. They would barely leave the office to come up with a number, they didn’t need to see the place, it was only going to go up in value anyway.

Latest posts

6

Is gold the new global reserve?

Someone else has finally noticed that a sea change has transpired in forex markets during the oil crisis. As this blogger noted last week, the $US has not enjoyed its traditional safe haven role on the flight to safety trade. Sovereign Man picks up the theme today to argue that this is the end for

12

Hats off to McKibbin

MacroBusiness would like to doff its hat to Warwick McKibbin. The current and soon to be former RBA member has embraced the spirit of the Trickster and thrown a big spanner into the works in Canberra’s bull factory. We don’t agree with everything Dr McKibbin has to say, and on some things he doesn’t say

11

Housing ponzi stumbles on

The RBA’s lending January credit aggregates were out yesterday and the reading is fascinating. It is no surprise to regular readers that the rate of credit growth in Australia has slowed, a phenomenon it calls disleveraging. January’s credit was a continuation of the several months before it. Owner-occupied mortgages grew month on month at a seasonally adjusted

1

Wanna try again Mike ?

In late 2010 Mike Smith was pushing ahead to move ANZ further into northern Asia via an acquisition in South Korea. ANZ Banking Group is continuing to conduct due diligence on Korea Exchange Bank, according to chief executive Mike Smith. “We’re still in the middle of that and it’s very hard for me to say

32

The Bogan is Doing it Tough

Australia is Doing it Tough. At least this is what we are led to believe, courtesy of a chorus of political and business leaders who lean on this phrase any time they wish to be seen to understand the traumas that Australians, bogan and non-bogan alike, face on a daily basis. We are constantly told

1

The flying wombat

When it comes to investing in shares, Australians love paying high prices for former government-owned monoliths.  And the love affair continues as Qantas (QAN) released its half years results with a headline $417 million underlying profit, before tax. The economic commentariat gave mixed reviews, with Royal Bank of Scotland saying the result was reasonable whilst

11

Moody’s uninformed market

After the announcement of the Moody’s review overnight, it’s something of a spectacle watching the banks swing from the line that they need to raise interest rates because of rising wholesale borrowing costs to telling us not to worry about rising wholesale borrowing costs. From the Wall Street Journal: In response to Moody’s, Commonwealth Bank’s

6

Key drivers of the Aussie

What drives the AUD/USD exchange rate? You would think that it’s a question that is fairly easy to answer yet conventional currency forecasters still have difficulty get their point forecasts right. I’m not making excuses for these guys and gals in the punditry but I’ve always thought that there was a little bit of an

2

Kloppers, Marius Kloppers…

As this blogger keeps saying, not all markets are created equal. In strategic commodity markets, where governments are big players, the dynamics are not as simple as the balance of supply and demand determining equilibrium. In strategic commodities, when prices go up, demand does not fall. Rather, it increases as governments panic about security of

44

The Baby Boomer Bust?

The 21st century will be the century of old age, where declining birth rates meet longer life expectancies. This ageing of the population will affect many areas of the international economy, from consumption and growth to asset valuations.  The impacts from ageing will likely be most acute in Western Nations, although some developing countries, most notably

62

Disparate groups slam Australia’s housing affordability

In the wake of the 2011 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, which identified Australia as having the most unaffordable housing in the Anglosphere, it appears that pressure is building on the Australian Government to take corrective action. Over the past two weeks, concerns have been raised by three disparate groups: the Sacred Heart Mission, the Real Estate Institute of

8

Paul Krugman is wrong (updated)

A few days ago, Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman declared again that there is no ‘financialisation’ element to the current commodity price surge. He began: I’ve been getting a fair bit of correspondence insisting that political unrest, in the Arab world and elsewhere, is being caused by … Ben Bernanke. You see, quantitative easing is responsible for

8

Queensland’s cyclone

Cyclone Yasi has been upgraded to a Category 5 storm ( the highest level ) and on current estimates is expected to hit between Cairns and Innisfail at around 10pm tonight. The size of this storm is overwhelming, and the bureau of meteorology has announced that this is largest recorded storm ever to hit Queensland. Weatherzone

20

The China domino

The stated goal of the Hu Jintao-led Chinese government is a “harmonious society”. Perhaps that is why the word “Egypt” was blocked on certain search engines over the weekend. Multiple factors are in play in Egypt, but there is one vital similarity with China: Food inflation of a breadth and severity that few in the

14

Macro 101 – Sectoral balance

I note today that the PM has announced the introduction of a flood levy, some policy changes and cuts of $2.8 billion dollars in government spending including a cut of the national rent assistance scheme. That last point is something I want to discuss in a future post because it will have some interesting effects on housing. All

22

UK deleveraging: “standard of living to plunge at fastest rate since 1920s”

The Telegraph today published a disturbing article on the dire state of the UK economy: Households face the most dramatic squeeze in living standards since the 1920s, the Governor of the Bank of England warned, as he reacted to the shock disclosure that the economy was shrinking again. Families will see their disposable income eaten up as

17

China’s Demographic Time Bomb

The 21st century will be the century of old age, where declining birth rates meet longer life expectancies. Nowhere are these demographic shifts occurring as quickly as in China, which is facing demographic challenges that threaten to slow its long-term expansion. China’s demographic headwinds stem from its ‘one child policy’, which was brought into effect in 1979 and is

87

Detailed Report: The 2011 Demographia Housing Affordability Survey (By Leith van Onselen)

The 7th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey has just been released and, once again, it has delivered a stern condemnation of housing policy in Australia. This year, the Demographia survey has been expanded to 325 markets in seven countries: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The

12

The Days of Easy Credit are Numbered

Back in December, I wrote the following: In the early-1990s, non-bank lenders entered the Australian mortgage market and began raising funds via securitisation on wholesale debt markets. The rise of these non-bank lenders caused an intensification of competition amongst mortgage lenders. With no formal regulator and no rules outside of regular trade practices and corporations law, they

22

Guest Post: Changing the Rules: Why our Property Boom is Over (Part 1)

Sam Birmingham runs a top quality networking site for young professionals called WeBe, which provides up-to-date information on financial matters, work-related issues, lifestyle news and reviews, and current affairs and opinion pieces. WeBe also provides a platform where members can have their voices heard, express opinions and share ideas with other like-minded Young Professionals. Yesterday, Sam published the first in

31

Why not copy Houston?

Following on from my recent articles on land-use regulations and housing affordability, I want to take readers through Texas’ deregulated urban planning system, and how this system has assisted in providing Texans with housing that is among the most affordable in the Western world despite very high population growth. Adam Smith would be proud: Possibly the best description

41

Planning Gone Mad

My previous article, The Truth about the US Housing Market, has obviously divided opinion on the important issues of housing affordability and the causes of housing bubbles. In only 48 hours, this article has been read by over 5,000 people, making it my second most popular article of all time, behind Australian Housing: a Bubble in

3

Reader asks "How desperate is St George ?"

Mr A writes. Do you think a bank should be doing this – encouraging and inflating the housing bubble? As a “good” customer of theirs they gave me this little beauty when I logged online to check my account. Welcome to An Investors Guide to the Nation, commissioned by St.George exclusively or you as a

32

The Truth about the US Housing Market

Last week, the United States Case-Shiller 20-cities Composite house price index took an unexpected plunge, falling 1.3% in October from a month earlier. Prices have now fallen by around one-third (see below chart). Month-over-month prices fell in all metro areas covered by the index. And in six markets – Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Portland, Seattle and Tampa – house prices have