Monday, May 19, 2014

Australia's neighbors are taking measures to cool their housing markets, but not Australia.

Australia’s Central Bank Not Interested in Targeted Steps to Cool Housing
But capital city home prices are up about 11% in the past year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, largely driven by property investors. The sharp run-up has prompted the central bank to remind the public that property prices can also decline.

Ms. Ellis said house prices were expected to rise after the RBA cut interest rates repeatedly in recent years, reaching an all-time low of 2.5% last year. That response is “a natural part of the ‘transmission mechanism” of monetary policy, she said.

Ms. Ellis acknowledged that the rise in prices has been hard on new-home buyers. The percentage of new-home buyers in the market has fallen dramatically in the past year.
You know who it is really unfair to? Cash buyers. There is no "real" market for housing, as far as the central bank is concerned. No one who has saved up their money to pay all cash should be crazy enough to compete with a negatively geared investor working with leverage.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

What happens if sellers refuse to lower their prices?

Vietnam's housing bubble is an especially over inflated. Average prices to average incomes are at a 25x multiple. 25! In contrast the median multiple (not exactly the same measure, but similar) in Vancouver is 10x. Sellers have not lowered their prices in the face of plummeting demand. Since 2010 they have been stubborn. The result? A Frozen Market. No thaw expected in Vietnam's frozen housing market
Dang Hung Vo said a paradox in the property market is that supply of high-cost housing units has overwhelmed demand, leading to high inventories and bad debts, while there is a severe lack of low-cost housing units. Only 1,500 condominiums were sold in Hanoi in the first quarter, according to property firm CBRE. While that’s a five-fold increase from the 279 sold in the same period two years ago, it’s still down from the peak in 2009, when more than 15,000 units were sold in the capital city.

China's Shadow Banking system estimated at US$4.4 Trillion

China's 'Shadow Banking' Sector Valued at $5.4 Trillion (Title is confusing, but context in the article supports the 4.4 number.)
A new report shows that China's "shadow banking" sector is now valued at 4.4 trillion US dollars. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences report also warns of potential risks to the financial system.

Pawn shops, once banned, now US$11.83 billion dollar player in China's shadow banking system

China’s SMEs head for pawnbrokers as credit tightens
In such an environment SMEs often turn to family financing, underground banks and loan sharks to fund their operations. They are forced to pay eye-watering interest rates well into double-digits. By contrast, the average rate at a retail pawnshop is usually much lower. Step inside the retail unit of an upscale pawnbroker like Shanghai Hualian Pawn or Beijing’s Huaxia Pawnshop today and you’ll see the usual assortment of watches and jewellery that were common 20 years ago. But peer into an office behind the counter and you might well overhear negotiations for a loan in exchange for the keys to a luxury car or apartment deed. The average loan at a Chinese pawnbroker is about US$16,000 (RMB 100,000) versus US$150 in the US.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It's not just an unaffordability index, it's real quality of life being lost

Barbara Yaffe: Vancouver house prices pushed by apathetic politicians and offshore demand
Doug McCandless grumbles that a building project can drag on for two years: “The neighbourhood is held hostage to contractors coming and going, huge messes accumulating on site with no deadline in sight.”
A year ago, University of B.C. geography professor David Ley told the South China Morning Post’s Ian Young he was surprised Vancouver hasn’t seen a political pushback.
Of course, foreign buyers are a mixed blessing, boosting the economy as they make their property purchases. And for now at least, that’s more of a priority for government than any lack of affordability.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Seriously, is there ANY issue that isn't seen as real estate related in Australia?

Will Google Glass change the face of real estate in Australia?
In the last 20 years, technology has been a major driver of change in Australia’s real estate industry. But will Google Glass really make a difference to the way we see property?