Gravity catching up with stupidity in housing markets: Deloitte report

Gravity catching up with stupidity in housing markets: Deloitte report
Gravity catching up with stupidity in housing markets: Deloitte report

Storm clouds are gathering over Australia’s housing market as NSW and Victoria's price growth boom was borrowed from the future and they will have to pay back some of it, according to a recent Del­oitte Access Economics’ report.

Home building will likely shrink further amid “increasing evidence that gravity may soon start to catch up with stupidity in housing markets,” noted Chris Richardson of Deloitte Access Economics in its quarterly outlook.

The report, while summarising the state of the world economy and its impact on Australia, said “the jump from a China boom to a housing price boom sent the nation’s money and momentum from its north and west towards its south and east”. 

The outlook from Deloitte is the latest in a series of warnings about the risks to Australia's economy from the housing market. Earlier, Citi had said property prices could fall by as much as 7 percent as the housing boom unwinds by 2018.

The report picked NSW and Victoria as having “clay feet”, saying a house price boom borrows growth from the future, and both states will have to pay back some of that in the years ahead “as today’s housing prices gradually reconnect with reality”.

It noted that NSW benefited from the shift to lower interest and exchange rates since 2012. 

“But storm clouds are building, as the housing price boom has artificially supported retail and home building. There’ll be an eventual butcher’s bill to pay as those supports reverse,” Richardson noted.

Victoria has benefited as key cyclical drivers – exchange and interest rates – moved in a ‘Victoria- friendly’ direction in recent years. And though Victoria is experiencing its strongest population gains for many a decade but its population and housing cycles may be near their peaks, it said.

In Queensland, Cyclone Debbie and slowing housing construction are current negatives, but Debbie’s impact will be temporary and gas exports are lifting, it said.

The report warned that the “gargantuan Chinese credit surge is finally easing back”, suggesting that “the global economy won’t be doing Australia quite as many favours from 2018 onwards”. 

Amid all the grim warnings of the risks from the housing market, the report said those were the only caveats  on an otherwise solid outlook. 

“Relative to the rest of the rich world, Australia’s economic outlook may not be quite as impressive as it once was, but we are still kicking goals,” it said.

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Housing Market Deloitte

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