The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Monday, December 21, 2009

AAP: House prices set to rise in 2010

For what it is worth, from AAP:

"As prospective home buyers look for the best time to jump into the market, many of the nation’s top housing analysts have forecast modest residential price growth of about 5 or 6 per cent in 2010...

BIS Shrapnel senior project manager of residential property Angie Zigomanis predicts steady growth of about five to six per cent in established residential property next year.

‘‘I’d expect you’d see steady low-to-mid single digit growth next year,’’ Mr Zigomanis said. ‘‘Over the next two or three years I think you’ll find interest rates will keep slowly edging upwards and it’ll keep a lid on the massive double digit price growth we were seeing previously.’’

‘‘If you look at most markets, prices declined last year and while people are talking about booms and everything else, most of what it did was really put prices back to where they were 12 to 18 months ago,’’ Mr Zigomanis said.

First home buyers would not be excluded from the market until the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) raised interest rates by another 1 or 2 per cent, he said.

Investor demand and upgrader’s demand picked up in the last few months of 2009 and would continue well into next year.

As city rents increased due to low vacancy rates, more first home buyers in the 25 to 35 year age group would be encouraged into the market.

Housing Industry Association chief economist Harley Dale said Australia would experience significant 20 to 25 per cent growth in new housing stock through to mid 2011.

He also supports predictions of about five to six per cent growth in established homes next year.

‘‘With prices, we’ll probably continue to get a little bit more growth over the next six to 12 months but probably not at the rate that we’ve seen over the last six months which has been driven a lot by the first home-owner base,’’ he said.

Mum and dad investors, who tended to look at the same type of investment housing stock as first home buyers, were beginning to step in to fill the gap.

A shortage of housing, low interest rates and the first home buyer’s grant had helped support prices, he said.But University of Western Sydney Associate Professor of economics and finance Steve Keen said the rates and grants combination had already helped cause a housing boom in 2009.

‘‘The fact that rates are rising as we enter 2010, combined with the ending of the boost and the winding back of government stimulus packages, means that rising interest rates are likely to end the (housing) bubble that began in 2009,’’ Mr Keen said.

The implications would be ‘‘substantially negative’’ for all properties, not just those valued under $500,000.‘‘I’d expect a five per cent or so fall (in residential house prices), probably returning to somewhere between the current peak and the previous one in September 2008.’’

Meanwhile Commonwealth Bank economist James McIntyre cites wages growth as a key part of the equation, while predicting significant skills shortages emerging within 12 to 18 months.

He said house prices would grow in the ‘‘mid single digits’’ next year, but those increases depended on how the build up of wages translated to other sectors of the economy.

‘‘If the whole economy catches fire with a strong growth in wages, then that will really be supportive of a continued strong growth in house prices.’’

He dismissed suggestions the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) had waited too long to increase interest rates and said there was a very low chance of house prices falling.

It would take a ‘‘significant global shock’’ and an unprecedented surge in building approvals of between 200,000 and 250,000 homes to see significant weakness in house prices, he said.

Ray White Real Estate chairman Brian White believes Australia has avoided a dramatic downturn in house prices.

‘‘All of us seem to have forgotten the anguish of the first four or five months of the year and we’re trying to understand just how on earth the year finished so strongly,’’ Mr White, who heads the nation’s largest group of real estate agencies, said.

He also forecast growth of about 5 per cent in 2010 and said it had become a vendor’s market.

‘‘Now we’re going into the new year with a number of interest rate increases occurring but with quite strong growth.’’"