Tag Archives: market

‘Rich Dad’ author Robert Kiyosaki warns investors to avoid real estate in Australia

Yes, even Robert says this place is overheated and he is warning all who’ll listen to give our real estate market a wide berth.  The reasons he gives are sound, and echo my sentiments expressed over the last few years.

Kiyosaki said that foreign investment was spiking domestic prices and forcing local buyers to pay well above the true market price.

“Foreign investors are queuing up to buy anything they can get their hands on. This is causing average Australian punters to think they need to start buying now. It has created a bubble,” Kiyosaki told Fairfax Media.

Again – do not go there.  Its just ridiculous and whilst commentators here are saying its all good, there are still people near where I live suffering huge capital losses on sale.

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Housing leverage hits a record high  an article by Article by RP Data senior research analyst,
Cameron Kusher


Based on data from the Reserve Bank, the ratio of household debt to disposable income and housing debt to disposable income has increased over the June 2014 quarter with housing debt now at a record high level.

Each quarter, after the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases its data on financial accounts, the Reserve Bank (RBA) releases their ‘Household finances – selected ratios’ data sheet. The information provides a timely overview about the level of household leverage.

The latest data for June 2014 has just been released and it showed that at the end of the June quarter, total household debt to disposable income had increased to 151.1%. The figure had increased from 150.2% the previous quarter and 147.7% a year earlier. The ratio is now at it’s highest level since March 2008. As the first chart shows the ratio has been relatively flat over recent years but is now starting to rise once more.


Based on data from the Reserve Bank, the ratio of household debt to disposable income and housing debt to disposable income has increased over the June 2014 quarter with housing debt now at a record high level.

Each quarter, after the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases its data on financial accounts, the Reserve Bank (RBA) releases their ‘Household finances – selected ratios’ data sheet. The information provides a timely overview about the level of household leverage.

The latest data for June 2014 has just been released and it showed that at the end of the June quarter, total household debt to disposable income had increased to 151.1%. The figure had increased from 150.2% the previous quarter and 147.7% a year earlier. The ratio is now at it’s highest level since March 2008. As the first chart shows the ratio has been relatively flat over recent years but is now starting to rise once more.


When you look at the key driver of the increase in the ratio, it is no real surprise that leverage in the housing market is the major driver. As at June 2014, 137.1% of the 151.1% total household debt figure or a record high 90.7% was housing debt. In fact the 137.1% ratio of housing debt to disposable income is a record high and up from 136.1% the previous quarter and 133.3% a year earlier. As was the case with household debt, you can see that housing debt was relatively unchanged for a number of years but has recently started to rise once again.


The RBA breaks this data out further to owner occupiers and investors. Of that 137.1%, 90.9% (or 66.3% of the 137.1%) was to owner occupiers with the remaining 46.2% (or 33.7% of the 137.1%) to investors. The proportion of overall housing debt to owner occupiers is trending lower at the moment while investor debt rises.

The data also includes information on the value of assets to disposable income. According to the statistics, the ratio of total household assets to disposable incomes is 801.9%. This figure is now at its highest level since March 2008. This 801.9% is split into housing assets which account for 433.6% and financial assets which make up the remaining 342.2%. The housing assets figure is at its highest level since June 2008 while the financial assets figure is lower over the quarter, down from 342.9% in March.


The chart highlights the trends over time. What they indicate is that households have consistently stored a majority of their wealth in housing assets as opposed to financial assets. Unfortunately the data is not available prior to 1988 so we don’t have visibility on the results prior to that time.

Chart 4 looks at the annual change in the ratio of housing debt to disposable income plotted against the annual change in combined capital city home values. Although the ratio of housing debt to disposable income is rising it is doing so at a much more moderate pace than it has in the past despite quite strong growth in home values. It is difficult to know exactly why this is happening however, the RBA has reported in its latest Financial Stability Review that the typical mortgagee has more than 2 years’ worth of mortgage repayments sitting in mortgage offset or redraw facilities. This may go some way to explaining the moderate rise. Alternatively, a rise in foreign buyers could also be a contributing factor. Other potential reasons include lower loan to value ratios or investors purchasing using significant equity in their principal place of residence.


The data highlights that household and housing debt is increasing and with home values continuing to rise we would anticipate a further rise in both measures over the coming quarter. The RBA has previously stated that further increases in household debt are not ideal. With housing debt at a record high level and investor activity at near record highs, I don’t think it is any surprise that the RBA is looking to macroprudential tools to take some of the heat out of the housing market.


You don’t need the charts – the words tell it all.  Be very careful folks…

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21 Nov 2013  ABC Business News in Brisbane – The International Monetary Fund has cautioned that the recent surge in Australian property prices and rising investor expectations could cause values to “overshoot”.

While the IMF does not point to a property bubble in the hot markets of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, it is urging regulators to scrutinise property investment to ensure banks maintain strict lending standards.

“Attention should be paid to the risk – as in any situation where asset price inflation accelerates – that a prolonged period of rapid price growth could give rise to expectations-driven, self-reinforcing demand dynamics and price overshooting,” the IMF said in a statement.

“A sudden house price decline, were it to occur – possibly triggered by a shock to household incomes and borrowing costs – could reduce consumer confidence and impact overall economic activity.

“The authorities would need to be prepared to take preventative actions if household credit growth, transactions volume, and prices accelerate.”

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Full credit to Australia’s ABC News for this one

The international body that represents central banks has released data that puts Australia near the top of all measures of overvalued housing.

In its latest quarterly update, the Swiss-based Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has published extensive historical analysis on historical home prices in a large number of countries for which reliable data is available.

Confirming a recent analysis by the International Monetary Fund, the BIS has found that Australian home prices are higher than they typically have been when compared to rents and incomes.

Despite having had no real (inflation adjusted) property price growth over the three years up to when the BIS figures were taken at the start of 2014, Australian homes had the equal fourth highest price-to-rent ratio and second highest price-to-income ratio.

Australian home prices were 50 per cent higher than usual relative to rents, and around 40 per cent higher than usual when compared to incomes.

“A priori, this could be a reason to expect a price correction in the future,” the report’s authors cautioned, referring to countries where prices were more than 20 per cent higher than these historical averages suggest they should be.

In the months since the figures were taken, Australian home prices have increased much faster than both rents and general consumer price inflation, meaning that they would have deviated further above these historical norms.

The BIS analysts warn that these types of price rises in already overvalued markets increase the risk of future declines, especially where wages are not growing strongly –Australia has recently had wage growth that has failed to match inflation.

“This might lead to a reversal or moderation of recent growth or a further sliding of prices,” the BIS warned.

“This argument would be more compelling for markets where prices have grown rapidly in the recent past, and where income growth is projected to be rather moderate.”

The BIS has also compiled data that look at house prices back to 1970, with Australia’s current index reading of 200 second only to Norway’s growth over the past 44 years.

Out of the 14 advanced economies examined by the BIS, only the UK has house prices that come close to matching Australia and Norway for inflation adjusted growth over that period.

Recent Reserve Bank research showed that it was likely that most Australians would be just as well off, or perhaps better off, renting than buying at current home prices.

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Terry McCrann wrote this recently – I’ reproduced the article in full with full acknowledgement that its content belongs to Terry McCrann and the Courier Mail.  This is slowly starting to match what I’ve been saying for the last 2 or more years…

ANYONE who doesn’t believe we’ve been living through the mother of all residential property bubbles clearly hasn’t been to an auction on one of the recent Saturdays, yesterday’s still — just? — included.

Down here in Aussieland, we’ve been riding on two bubbles over the past year or so and they both derive from the absolute granddaddy of all global bubbles — the zero interest rates and the massive printing of money, led by the US and repeated pretty much across the entire developed world.

That’s zero pretty much everywhere else other than Australia and New Zealand. This has led to the bizarre and certainly unique situation that our Reserve Bank’s 2.5 per cent official rate is at the same time both too attractively low and too attractively high.

Our first bubble — in property — is because it’s “too low”. Mortgage interest rates, which are priced off that official rate, have never been as low as they are today. People are borrowing and buying.

The second bubble — in the Aussie dollar — flows from it being ‘‘too high”. All that foreign money sloshing around in global capital markets has been pouring — or being dragged by our banks — into Australia chasing our “high” interest rates.

As I noted last week, three big things happened running down to last weekend. China might just have sneezed, the European Central Bank went all the way to zero, and the US jobs numbers looked soft. This added up to interesting times ahead.

Now in the past week, we might just have seen the Aussie dollar bubble starting to pop. The really big question is if the one bubble pops, will the other follow?

In the previous week, the Aussie had seemed to defy gravity. When iron ore prices went south — China sneezing? — the Aussie actually went up, threatening to go above US94c.

This week, though, it went down one big number on Tuesday, another big number on Wednesday and kicked up only briefly on the spectacular 120,000-plus jobs number on Thursday. By Friday night, it was teetering just above US90c.

Be careful, be very careful, what you wish for. The Aussie’s clearly been too high; RBA governor Glenn Stevens wants it at about US85c or so.

That would be the opposite of the interest rate mix. At US85c it would be both not too high and not too low. Not too high as to strangle the non-resources side of the economy, not too low as to start pushing up inflation from imported goods.

Two problems, though: you can’t just dial up the desired number for the Aussie. History tells us two things: when it breaks it breaks suddenly and then goes much further than you would expect or want.

Second, an Aussie plunging would take us into new and completely unpredictable territory in terms of the global backdrop.

We have never been in this position before — with China underwriting our economic prosperity and US money-printing pouring money into the country.

So self-evidently, we have also never been in the period after they reverse. If indeed they are in the process of so doing.

If the Aussie dollar does pop, two things are likely to happen to threaten to burst the property bubble as well.

The Aussie falling means less money coming into the country chasing our “high” interest rates and direct asset purchases. It would also mean the banks would have less money or no longer as cheap money to lend. In short, not just if you’re planning an overseas holiday, but if you are planning to buy or sell property, watch the Aussie.

As for that jobs number, it was obviously and so self-evidently completely wrong. It’d be the equivalent of nearly two million jobs being created in the US in a single month — trust me, they’d think they were in a boom if they got 500,000.

There’s a much more general message out of it, which the various economists and commentators will almost certainly not learn.

This is that even “normal” monthly jobs numbers are meaningless. A figure of 121,000 looks wrong, so most commentators treated it with caution. Exactly the same applies to a figure of 21,000.

But instead, commentators will authoritatively opine that such a figure shows the economy is picking up pace, or the opposite, depending whether it’s a plus or minus.

Two things so far as policy is concerned flow from this. In Canberra, the Government needs to ditch attempts to make major changes to the budget.
It’s pretty silly politically to keep banging your ahead against a brick Senate wall.

But that aside, what the country needs is stability in government.

That leads to the second thing — once again it’ll be wise to leave management of the economy to the RBA. It can act quickly and effectively as needed.

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Now the big fellas are finally telling the truth

Thanks to the Sydney Morning Herald on 03 Sep 2014 – thanks to Georgia Wilkins


ANZ chairman David Gonski has warned Australia’s booming housing prices cannot go on forever and the market will eventually experience a correction.

The former Future Fund chairman said ANZ and all the big banks were “very aware of history” when it came to financial lending in the residential mortgage market.

“There will come a time when there will be a correction,” he told the Australian British Chamber of Commerce.

“The fact is, anyone who believes prices always go up is, I think, a fool.”

Mr Gonski’s comments come as the housing market heats up as spring approaches. Capital city markets had their strongest winter since before the lead up to the financial crisis, according to figures released on Monday by RP Data.

Sydney and Melbourne house prices lifted 5 per cent and 6.4 per cent respectively over the three months to the end of August. The surge represents year-on-year growth of more than 16 per cent in Sydney and almost 12 per cent in Melbourne.

Brisbane, which was one of the weaker-performing cities, recorded a 1.3 per cent property value increase in the three months to the end of August.

The Reserve Bank warned in its submission to the Financial System Inquiry that moves to boost competition in the home loan sector could increase risk in the financial system.

Regional banks, credit unions and building societies have urged the federal government to change regulations that give the big banks a significant cost advantage when making home loans.


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take a look here – http://www.imf.org/external/research/housing/index.htm and here -> http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-12/janda-its-official-property-prices-are-getting-out-of-reach/5517674

When things are this HOT for this LONG, something is bound to give..

If interest rates take a spike here, watch the fallout.



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I’m copying all of this excellent article from the ABC’s Alan Kohler.  Read into it what you will, but really, “are you kidding me?”… Do we never learn?  The Perfect Storm I’ve written about already is now definitely upon us.  This rise, if you will, may be rapid in some sectors of the market but when interest rates inevitably rise, the fallout will be catastrophic.  Here’s the article from ABC News Online  17 April 2014

The mortgage-backed securities market is booming and bodes well for bank competition. But it’s driving house prices higher and making it even harder for first homebuyers, writes Alan Kohler.

After five years of near death, the residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) market in Australia is roaring back to life, which is both good and scary.

Good because the banks might finally get some competition from non-bank lenders again; scary because the resurgent supply of prime and subprime mortgage money from yield-hungry investors is not being matched by the supply of new land to lend against, so it’s just driving house prices higher.

We are seeing two quite different markets being mixed together: one for credit that is active and plentiful (call this one nitro) and one for land that is short (call it glycerin).

In 2013, $26 billion worth of RMBS were issued in Australia, which was the most anywhere in the world, according to Deloitte partner Graham Mott. So far in 2014 the market in mortgage securities is still active, with big issues from AMP, AFG, Pepper Home Loans, Heritage Bank and Liberty.

In a speech to the Economic Society yesterday, Assistant Governor (Financial Markets) of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Guy Debelle, said: “Deal sizes have increased, especially for RMBS issued by the major banks, where the average size has increased to $2.5 billion.”

He added that issuance has picked up for the major banks as well as regional banks and non-banks (i.e. credit unions and mortgage originators), with “a number of smaller issuers returning to the market after an absence of several years”.

“RMBS … spreads, over the last year or so, have remained at their lowest level since mid 2007, despite the significantly larger volume that has been brought to market.”

A large and growing proportion of the securities are backed by non-conforming, or sub-prime loans, paying higher yields. These are about half “low doc” (not much detail on the borrower) and half to borrowers with bad credit ratings.

According to one issuer I spoke to this week, the buyers are apparently church funds, health insurance companies and state treasuries that prefer the risk/return equation of sub-prime mortgages.

But most of the RMBS being issued are AAA securities and, surprisingly, a lot of them are being bought by banks, which are, in effect, funding their competitors.

They are doing it because the furious competition, and therefore high interest rates, for retail deposits has filled their coffers and there isn’t enough demand for credit to soak it up. Buying AAA-rated mortgage securities is an easy way to make a return, even if you don’t know the end customer and can’t sell them insurance or super.

Money has been pouring into bank deposits for a few years, and now, once again, it’s pouring into the arms of “shadow banks” at lower interest rates, reminiscent of the non-bank lending boom from 2003-2007.

The typical AAA-rated RMBS issue is at 105-120 basis points above the bank bill swap rate, which is 2.7 per cent at present.

That puts the wholesale cost of funds at 10-50 basis points below retail deposit rates, and is allowing the non-bank lenders, as well as smaller banks, to gnaw away at the massive market shares of major banks.

The only problem with this idyllic scene is that all the money and lending competition is only pushing up real estate prices.

There simply isn’t enough land being released in Australia to match either the demand for housing or the supply of credit.

Bob Day, the Family First Senator-elect and one of Australia’s biggest home builders, calls it the “Baptist/bootlegger” problem.

The Baptists and the bootlegger were both in favour of prohibition for different reasons: one for misguided morality, the other to make money. He says that about 15 years ago a similar (non-collusive) coalition of environmentalists and developers formed in Australia to restrict land release.

The result, says Day, is that while the cost of building a house has come down, getting land to put it on is hard and expensive. He says that 20-30 years ago the price of a block of land was about 40 per cent of the cost of a house; now the land cost is 2-3 times the cost of a house.

The result is that instead of being three times the average wage as it used to be, the cost of housing in Australia is 6-10 times the average income. First homebuyers are now totally excluded from home ownership unless their parents support them.

It’s not a bubble – yet – because it’s merely the true forces of supply and demand working (which is the definition of a non-bubble).

Supply is restricted (of land, not houses) and demand is being fuelled by immigration and the plentiful supply of credit to investors looking to take advantage of negative gearing.

And the rejuvenation of the RMBS market will only increase the supply of credit even further and lower its price.

Next: perhaps a recommendation from the Financial System Inquiry chaired by David Murray that retirees be forced to take at last part of their super payout as a pension rather than a lump sum (so they can’t blow it on a world trip before reverting to the aged pension – which would also help take the pressure off the government-funded aged pension).

That would give another boost to the RMBS market because mortgage-backed securities are perfect investments for private annuities and pensions.

In other words, the supply of credit for mortgages, both prime and subprime, is only going in one direction – up – and it wouldn’t take another subprime mortgage bubble to produce a glut of cash available to be lent against real estate.

By the far best solution would be a big increase in the supply of serviced land in the outer suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne, but it would be slow and the infrastructure would be expensive – too expensive for the first homebuyers themselves to pay, or for governments for that matter.

Will the Coalition Government regulate the supply of credit or restrict negative gearing? Unlikely.

So it looks like your super will have to go towards buying the kids a house: they’ll never be able to afford one.

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It’s all adding up….well, for me anyway, so let’s see how this pans out.

Retail stores are closing at an alarming rate in the USA and Europe, and yes, here in Australia.  My local large shopping centre has just had 5% of tenancies “walk” at the end of their leases, with strong suggestions from people I know who are “in business” but only just, in the same centre, that up to 10% of the tenancies could walk in coming months.  Unlike 2005 for instance, there aren’t 40 people waiting in the wings to get into this centre.  There is no-one.  No registers of interest, no active list, reserve list or any kind of list.

Large shopping centres are dinosaurs and some people just won’t admit it.  Ridiculous rents forcing retailers to charge equally ridiculous prices and therefore having no chance against online retailers with cheap-as-chips warehouse rent in the middle-of-nowhere.

There are otherwise intelligent people (I think) spending nearly AUD$700 million on rebuilding and revitalising another massive local shopping/destination centre.  The reasons they cite to try and justify their decision are plain ridiculous – the place will be an albino pachydermata.

If shopping centre owners drop their rents to a level where traditional retailers can once again run a half decent business, capital values will plummet.  Flow on to smaller commercial and industrial properties is sure. Lack of return, loss of jobs and its not hard to see residential housing taking a dive as well.  Don’t think so?

Massive interest rate cuts have failed to stem the drop in residential values.  The butchering of statistics continues.  I was recently challenged as to why my view differed from the those reported in the news and delivered startling “real results” to back up my view.  Yet again a number of properties in a suburb were quoted as delivering massive price rises that contributed to the percentage rises being quoted in the news.  Shallow analysis of each of these properties showed that there were, in each and every case, factors that impinged on the price rise and therefore those properties should have been excluded from the ‘results’ for that suburb.  Trouble is, you take those properties out, and the price FALL is dramatic.

Factors that made for selling prices being reported as UP from previous acquisition prices were as I’ve reported before in my blog.  Reconfiguring a home to cater for two families. Significant and costly renovations not taken into account. Rezoning of land adding to it’s base value.  And so on.  And… no IN and OUT costs taken into account to arrive at a nett gain (if any).

Make no mistake that fiscal policy makers are all out of ideas for getting our economy going.  The USA think-tank  has screwed up and nothing is working over there.  I know many people in the USA in business and they tell me it’s rubbish that side of the Pacific, more than a little scary and they’ve little to no confidence.

The USA 30 year mortgage rate when I was there in 2013, was about 3.4%.  A year later and its nudging 4.5%.  If the same rate of rise occurs here (and it will) our rates will jump 30%!  Imagine mortgage repayments for all those silly sods who dived in with their 90% plus loans on minimal deposit using their Mum n Dads place as extra collateral…  Most are paying over $500 a week – that could easily jump to $650 a week – and wipe out their ability to EAT!

An interest rate jump of that magnitude will cause a REAL and long overdue drop in house prices.

CHINA – for a start you can’t believe most of the numbers that come out of ‘Official’ China however the word from people I know who travel regularly to that mysterious land is that things are crap. I’ve heard it said that China is at about 2004/2005 on the Western GFC Clock.  When their house-of-cards comes down it will not be pretty and the flow on will be nasty.

Its all coming to  ahead.  If you have property, sell it NOW and take advantage of the pseudo reports and spin to get some sucker to cough up.  RENT, or take a long holiday.  And buy back in when the dust settles.  Go back in this blog to see just HOW CHEAP housing is in so many desirable areas of the USA – not the ghettos of Detroit but NICE PLACES TO LIVE.

We are waaay to expensive and need a correction… It’s coming…

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