Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mortgage Debt Relative to Economy Size : Australia, Canada, U.S.

Australia
1.6 trillion (AUS) GDP
1.3 trillion (AUS) residential mortgage debt
81%

Canada
1.55 trillion (CAN) GDP
1.2 trillion (CAN) residential mortgage debt (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/fin21-eng.htm)
77%

U.S.A.
16 trillion (US) GDP
11 trillion (US) residential mortgage debt (http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/releases/mortoutstand/current.htm)
69%

Russians buying in South Africa

Foreign purchases estimated at 4% of the market.
Russians boost South Africa's Luxury Real Estate
But after President Vladimir Putin began to tighten restrictions last year on the freedom of the Russian elite to move their capital, Russians may now be motivated to move their assets more permanently overseas.

“There is a sense that [Russian] people want to get their money out [of the country] because of Putin closing down the doors,” said Steward, of the Knight Frank property agency. “That could be a reason why they want to invest here. The Russian market has certainly found London, and I think Cape Town is now being discovered.”

Bubble update from China

China's property market represents 15% of GDP
China's money supply has increased 3x since 2008
July was the lowest for inflows in six years
China real estate: A bubble bursting?
"The exposure of China's banks (and now shadow banks) to real estate may look different than it did in the U.S., but it's very real. The main exposure is the reliance on property as collateral to support virtually all forms of lending throughout the economy, a situation that is very similar to Japan in the 1980s," he added, referring to a collapse in Japan's property market after a boom.
In recent weeks, mid-sized developers such as Hong-Kong listed Greentown China Holdings and Shui On Land issued profit warnings amid a downturn in the housing market.

Friday, September 12, 2014

France's house prices flat last quarter

Prices down 1.2% on a yearly value after a 1.9% drop the previous quarter. 0.0% for the country as a whole on the quarter vs. 0.5% fall for the Paris region. The fall was halted by stimulus measures, it seems. Has France’s property market turned a corner?
Faced with a newbuild shortfall and the failure of its "Target 500K" initiative to build half a million new houses every year to 2017, the government unveiled a slew of measures in early July to boost the sector. These include the simplification of construction rules and regulations as well as the extension of the "0 percent interest loan" to boost middle and low-income first-time buying.

RBA says high prices not a crisis

Australia's high house prices not a 'crisis', says RBA
Price growth in almost all capital cities in the three months to June has helped the median Australian house price soar almost 11 per cent in the past year.

But RBA board member John Edwards has tried to cool fears that the property market is becoming overheated, saying the rapid rise won't continue indefinitely.
The RBA has kept interest rates on hold. Australia's economy grew at its slowest pace in more than a year in the June quarter after a sharp fall in exports and weak business investment in the June quarter.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Economist: Canadian real estate among world's most overvalued

Canadian Real Estate Among World's Most Overvalued, The Economist Says
A chart provided by the publication showed that Canada's price-to-rent ratio sat at 175.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2014, right on top of the world alongside Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Charts from the Economist

RBA will not lower interest rates to avoid stoking housing bubble

Australia RBA wary of stoking house prices with lower rates
"It is stating the obvious that at present, while we may desire to see a faster reduction in the rate of unemployment, further inflating an already elevated level of housing prices seems an unwise route to try to achieve that," Stevens told an economics event in Adelaide.

The RBA this week held interest rates at a record low of 2.5 percent, marking 12 straight policy meetings since it last cut.
Stevens said a recent rise in unemployment to a 12-year high of 6.4 percent was "concerning", though he cautioned that it was hazardous to read too much into one month's data.
The cycle is running out of steam if you are stimulating but the returns on stimulating are declining.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Banks are to blame for Australia's housing bubble

Australia's housing bubble is real and banks are to blame, says author
But in his mind, it's everyone else who is living in a "Disneyland" delusion by failing to spot a bank-led property bubble that shows no sign of deflating. "No one in the Western world has ever done what we are doing." It's "the sheer size of the loans relative to the incomes here" that troubles Mr David.
The median house price to income of Sydney is nine times, compared to 6.2 times in New York and 7.3 times in London. Even Adelaide is more expensive than New York on price-to-income basis. He is particularly troubled by the surge in asset values in his Sutherland Shire neighbourhood, where land is changing hands for more than $1 million. "I have never seen so many Range Rovers in the Shire. It's a small world out there and you know they haven't become millionaires overnight. It's eerily similar to Miami [in 2005 before the sub-prime crisis]. It feels like Groundhog Day," he said.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Distortion of negative gearing adds 9% to the cost of houses in Australia

Negative gearing adds $44k or 9% to the cost of houses. Negative gearing pumping house prices, but they're not overvalued yet

Moody's compared house prices with long term valuations – taking into account rents, income and the costs associated with borrowing, including interest rates and other charges – to assess whether the 10 per cent year-on-year rise in house prices in Australia's eight largest cities means property prices were overvalued.

Its analysis shows that 18 months ago house prices in all states were undervalued.

But rising house prices, which have not been accompanied by rising incomes or rents, have now pushed property values in most states to "fair value".
Taking into account the costs of borrowing. That means that if you have cash, the absolutely last thing you should do with it is jump in and compete with supercharged leveragers in the housing market. Hard-earned, long-saved cash doesn't suddenly get any more easily earned just because emergency interest rates are kept in place for years and years.
When Moody's calculated the impact of rising interest rates, ''the story begins to change, with nationwide prices trending towards overvalued under normalised interest rates'', the report says.
Short term thinking rules the financial world.
The report said negative gearing costs the federal government about $4 billion in lost revenue a year and noted economists had labelled it "an unfair and unproductive distortion".

Sympathy for the Doomster Devil

Three reasons bears predictions have not come true for Canadian housing:

Extremely easy monetary policy
Demographics (the echo boom)
Foreign Buying
Three ‘unusual’ reasons you should have sympathy for Canada’s housing doomsters
Over the past 11 years average housing prices have doubled despite the recession, mortgage debt has topped $1.23-trillion (a record 60% of GDP) and Canada’s housing market is fully valued by price to rent and price to income measures.
But he points out that this remedy [demographics] has a short shelf life. BMO economists expect demographics to turn against the housing market by the turn of the decade, just when rising interest rates really begin to bite, creating a “potential double-whammy” for housing.