Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Coming Collapse in Housing

(click to enlarge)

When you look at Robert Shiller's graph of inflation of house prices, adjusted for monetary inflation, over the last 100 years, it seems almost inevitable that there will be a major correction very soon.
Of course, the politicians will just sit back and watch it rise and fall, so they can't be blamed for the outcome of 'irrational exuberance' (although they could be accused of indifference).

The Coming Collapse in Housing

Monday, November 13, 2006

Suffering in silence: a city on the edge of insolvency

Very interesting, NSW 'Labor'. The Joe Tripodis and Frank Sartors clearly really don't care what happens to the average household. The housing 'boom' is partly responsible for this, the subsequent inflation it caused has taken care of the rest.

ONE in three Sydney households is beset by financial worries and almost one in seven is teetering on the edge of insolvency, a church survey has found.

The study commissioned by the Wesley Mission warns financial stress is greatest in the south-west and outer west, but is also pervasive across all parts of the city, including its more affluent suburbs.

Families reported forgoing family activities, borrowing from relatives or friends, failing to pay bills on time or being unable to make minimum credit card payments.

Five per cent said they had had to pawn an item, 4 per cent said they had gone without meals and a similar number could not afford to heat their homes.

The survey of 400 people was carried out in August. Since then last week's interest rate rise - the third this year - has added $40 per month to average mortgage repayments.

Suffering in silence: a city on the edge of insolvency

Monday, November 06, 2006

Homebodies raise the drawbridge to avoid an out-of-control world - National

A telling sign of the times:

IF THE home is our castle then we are raising the drawbridge.

Mounting frustration with the travails of modern life is driving us back into our homes, where we are seeking comfort in watching movies, eating and surfing the internet, a market research study has found.

The study on the mood of the nation by Australia SCAN found scepticism about business and government, a gloomy economic outlook and constant erosion of time and energy are leading to a sense of a loss of control.

Overall he noted a general malaise among the population, with more people less optimistic about the economic outlook and less confident of their personal finances than they were a year ago.

Homebodies raise the drawbridge to avoid an out-of-control world - National

Sunday, November 05, 2006

How could Sydney get it so wrong?

Then there's the thriving, hustling metropolis, where every opportunity to show intelligence or courage or (God forbid) altruism is mowed under the determined asphalt of commercial tackiness. Take the huge Carlton & United Breweries site on Broadway. Take Homebush and Rhodes Peninsula, spewing dioxins into the upper atmosphere in order to roll out more third-rate housing. Take Botany Bay, or Cooks Cove, or Green Square, or the vast tackiness spreading up and down the poor old Parramatta River. Take East Darling Harbour, our chance for a real flagship of eco-design, right at our ceremonial front door, now set to become more bottom-line junk, like King Street Wharf, only more, bigger, glassier. Most of them were, or are, Government land; all offered the opportunity for real social and cultural play. What do we get? More of the same.

This is a waste and a belittlement. A waste of our energies, as a city, and a belittlement of our intelligence and enterprise. To a large extent it is driven by the narrowness of our politicians, who talk tough but timidly follow the do-nothing-stay-in-power model of government perfected by Bob Carr and John Howard and become more philistine by the moment.

Blaming pollies is too easy. They're elected, and we elect them. If we wanted to make city-shaping issues into electoral ones, we could. We only have to be sceptical when they talk about conflict between the environment and job creation, and wonder how many jobs we'll have when the air turns to soup and the water laps at our doorstep. We only have to put our votes where our mouths are. We only have to find courage, take the risk, want to - enough.

How could Sydney get it so wrong?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Home ownership slips out of reach

Housing is at its least affordable in almost three years, with spiralling land costs and excessive fees making home ownership more out of reach for Australians.

"Since the national housing cycle hit its peak it has been readily apparent that the triple whammy of spiralling land costs, excessive fees and charges and planning red tape was making a tangible recovery in housing affordability virtually impossible.

"Moreover, a distinct lack of progress in addressing these three factors means that in the higher interest rate climate of 2006, we find ourselves back in the same affordability hole."

The manifest failure of government to act at any level on housing affordability in Australia simply beggars the imagination. It's so appalling that one begins to suspect a 1984-style conspiracy on the part of Ministers — "imagine a boot stamping on a face — forever".

Home ownership slips out of reach