It “Hit the Mortgage Market Over the Head with a Baseball Bat”

8 boots-on-the-ground findings about Sydney’s deflating housing bubble.

Australia’s housing market is getting rattled. The mortgage industry is in turmoil. Banks are battered by incessant revelations of misconduct.  Home prices in the Sydney and Melbourne metros, after surging to an astounding degree, are deflating. And the once splendid and vast game of real-estate speculation just isn’t fun anymore.

Lindsay David, of LF Economics in Sydney — who has long played a role in exposing misconduct in Australia’s banking system including, in early 2016, by calling for a Royal Commission investigation into the mortgage sector — put some findings of his boots-on-the-ground analysis into a note to clients. Here are some of them:

1. Drop-off in Speculative Demand:

“We spent countless hours” in recent months “observing buyer turnouts to scheduled property inspections of houses for sale,” he writes. “While there may still be a small sum of properties on market that continue to see very large turnouts, there was a clear visual drop-off of engaged interest from buyers and indeed ‘property snoops’ across the majority of properties for sale that we had observed.”

“On many occasions, we observed either no interested parties, or less than 4 parties inspecting a property across a very decent chunk of offerings on the market,” he writes. “This lower rate of turnouts was something we simply had not observed over the years at such a dramatic scale.”

2. Sharper drop in selling prices than shown in official data:

According to CoreLogic (the official data), home prices in Sydney fell 4.6% in June compared to a year ago, with house prices down 6.2%, and prices of condos down 0.7%. In the most expensive quartile, prices fell 7.3%.

But Lindsay David writes: “It is our view based on all the resources made available that house prices in the Sydney area have broadly fallen somewhere between 11% and 15% over the comparison period.”

3. Sudden eagerness by property agents to negotiate

“We also observed a systemic increase in property agents’ willingness to negotiate and follow up on the majority of very low-ball offers made for properties they are selling. This negotiation approach for buyers was simply not possible twelve months ago,” David writes.

4. Less access to “Jumbo Loans” because rules suddenly matter to banks (a little):

David writes in the note:

As we have always argued, Australian banks had for years been flooding the housing market with “jumbo loans” that were well in breach of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (NCCPA). When benchmarking the ability now to ascertain a loan outside the scope of the NCCPA, it appears the majority have lenders are now simply skirting in and around the laws of the NCCPA versus the outright disregard of this law, which for many years was industry standard.

This shift in lending practices brings lenders closer to the rules of the law and thus resulted in a significant reduction in the overall borrowing capacity of your standard Sydney property buyer. Sydney property buyers were leveraging at the highest ratios in the country (indeed globally) on the back of the easiest of lending environments. This now more broadly appears to be in the past versus the present.

5. The Royal Commission did it:

In 2017, the Australian government finally and reluctantly established The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, as it’s called, to investigate and report on misconduct in the financial services industry, particularly in the mortgage sector. It found a treasure trove of misconduct and “continues to expose cases of bank malpractice,” David writes:

The publicly released evidence provided consensus that our research into illegal conduct and regulatory capture in the mortgage market was spot on. We anticipate captured regulators will struggle to release the noose of the banks borrowing power without repercussions.

Under scrutiny, banks are now curtailing some of these practices and some of their riskiest lending, such as interest-only mortgages to investors who cannot afford them, and this has caused lending conditions to tighten particularly for speculative buyers.

The changes “appear to have hit the mortgage market over the head with a baseball bat,” David writes. “In our opinion, this is the primary reason the Sydney property bubble got pricked.”

6. Underwater interest-only mortgages:

Property price declines hit interest-only mortgages the hardest because there may be little or no equity cushion. Once a home is worth less than the mortgage, and is thus “underwater,” it cannot be sold because the proceeds won’t suffice to pay off the mortgage. Investors, often with negative cash-flows in the property, are stuck contemplating doom and gloom.

7. “Non-transparency” increases sharply

“The Sydney housing market is synonymous for non-transparency,” David writes. “We have continued to observe an ever-increasing lack of transparency when it comes to house prices (asking price and sale price)”:

  • More properties that are for sale are advertised without an asking price.
  • The number of transactions where the price is not disclosed has surged. This also appears to be the case in Sydney’s weekly auction results, thus preventing the median sale price at auction from falling faster than what it likely has in reality.
  • On many occasions, properties are being put on market only to be taken off market two or three months later. However, many of these properties are still for sale, but no longer advertised or have a ‘for sale’ sign posted on the front lawn.

“It could be argued that the property culture in Australia is to make sure everyone knows how high houses are selling for – unless the market is falling,” he writes.

8. Local Media, hooked on real-estate & bank ads, downplay Bad News

“The local mainstream media (MSM) have made great efforts to play down the systemic nature of the early findings of the Royal Commission along with the fall in house prices in Sydney,” David writes:

‘House Prices will fall, but not crash’ is the chorus despite Sydney house prices falling through the floor on the back of rising funding costs and weakening credit conditions. No doubt, revenues from real-estate and bank advertising remain a critical revenue component for Australian MSM news sites, relative to their international peers.

Humorously, the MSM has also begun to turn their attention on smaller housing markets that are showing signs of strength and increased credit expansion, such as Hobart, Tasmania, which has a population of just 220,000.

And the bottom line?

There are repercussions. Lindsay David, from his perch at LF Economics, concludes the note:

We stand with the view the Sydney housing bubble appears to have been pricked, and we are confident that house prices will continue to fall at a moderate to fast pace over the coming months. This should eventually have knock-on effects to the banking system and its stability and ability to maintain profits.

Furthermore, we can expect the residential construction sector to feel the pressure as more developers come to the realization that there is now no real profit to be made in a falling market. In a feedback-loop economy so reliant on rising land prices, the risk of eventual job losses filtering through the Sydney economy appears to be on the increase which could easily spill into the broader Australian economy.

But even the official reports are no longer brimming with optimism. “Recent home buyers could be facing negative equity,” warns CoreLogic. Read… Update on Deflating Property Bubbles in Sydney & Melbourne 
 

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  56 comments for “It “Hit the Mortgage Market Over the Head with a Baseball Bat”

  1. Gershon
    Jul 11, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    The true panic has yet to set in. Once it becomes evident that the pipeline of Greater Fools has dried up, the fear is going to become palpable, as listings soar and selling prices (as opposed to Greedhead wish prices) plunge.

    • 2banana
      Jul 12, 2018 at 12:13 pm

      The exit door is small and only a few will get through it…

      But everyone thinks it will be themselves …

  2. Mark
    Jul 11, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    Welcome to the USofA, circa 2006 – 2008.

    • Nick
      Jul 12, 2018 at 2:42 am

      as being the backwash of the developed you have to forgive us for our 12 year lagging.

    • saylor
      Jul 12, 2018 at 11:30 am

      And quite possibly…, 2018.
      Central coast of California is seeing some ‘stalling’ where there is a plateau and probably some decline.
      In part due to the stupid rise in selling prices of the past few years and higher interest rates.
      I use to measure the ‘rebound’ as being ‘we are now at 2004 prices, 2005 prices, 2006 prices…and then we past the previous high price bubble in 2013.

      • Arizona Slim
        Jul 12, 2018 at 3:30 pm

        In my Tucson neighborhood, I’ve seen three failed sales in the past few weeks. In all three cases, the houses were very overpriced.

        And, in one case, the next door neighbor told me that the house had been infested with termites while it was a rental. The last set of tenants moved out before the house was put on the market.

  3. KPL
    Jul 11, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    “This should eventually have knock-on effects to the banking system and its stability.”
    “In a feedback-loop economy so reliant on rising land prices, the risk of eventual job losses filtering through the Sydney economy appears to be on the increase which could easily spill into the broader Australian economy.”

    These sentences should send a chill down any tax-payer’s and saver’s spine. They will be the geese that will be cooked to ensure stability of the banking system and the economy. Good luck to them.

    • Mike G
      Jul 12, 2018 at 4:38 pm

      They should save the economy first, then the financial system. But corruption ensures that, just like Bush’s corporatist crew, they’ll save individual banks at the expense of the financial system, then save the financial system at the expense of the real economy.

    • divya
      Jul 13, 2018 at 4:58 pm

      Hello
      I am one of those said savers in australia. What advice do you have for what to do with savings given the u.s. experience??

  4. Jon
    Jul 11, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    Wake me unless and until there is a 50 percent drop in prices …

    • phathalo
      Jul 12, 2018 at 11:27 am

      Make up your made!

      • phathalo
        Jul 12, 2018 at 11:27 am

        *mind

  5. Mark out West
    Jul 12, 2018 at 12:10 am

    From macrobusiness;
    AMP – We are managing our portfolio in a very active market and our decisions on rates are never taken lightly.
    We have held off passing this cost on to customers for as long as we can and in fact have not increased interest rates for existing customers since June last year.
    With any change, we are focussed on balancing the interests of our customers, the regulator and our business.
    8 basis points for owner occupied principal and interest
    17 basis points for owner occupied interest only
    17 basis points for investment principal and interest
    17 basis points for investment interest only
    &
    Interest-only mortgagors are generally wealthier and have a higher risk appetite than other mortgagors, but they are increasingly turning to alternative sources of finance as lending criteria tighten, a Westpac economist has said.
    Further, more IO borrowers are borrowing from others (friends, relatives, solicitors or community organisations) in order to help finance their home purchase, up from 5.4 per cent in 2014 to 7.9 per cent in 2016. This compares to a small decrease among non-interest-only borrowers over the same period.
    &
    They’re hanging on desperately, trying not to hike, via Banking Day: Westpac and CBA have decided to defend their net interest margins by hacking further into the returns they make to depositors. CBA this week chopped the base rate on its NetBank Saver account by 30 basis points after Westpac last week also slashed.

    “It is evident that some are having to resort to alternate sources of finance as lenders apply tighter lending criteria. Some would-be borrowers that have been unable to raise alternate funds have likely been squeezed out of the interest-only market.”

    So investors are pawning everything, the banks are forcing down interest on deposits and housing prices are falling what could go wrong in the most indebted country in the world???

    • Mark out West
      Jul 12, 2018 at 12:29 am

      Oh I should have added – with the Fed increasing their interest rates putting further pressure on Aussies Interest Rates causing rising repayments on a falling asset.

    • nick kelly
      Jul 12, 2018 at 12:37 am

      They are borrowing from solicitors???

      WTF is this place??

      • Nick
        Jul 12, 2018 at 2:45 am

        Oz for you. We are different.

      • John
        Jul 12, 2018 at 8:31 am

        Sancta simplicitas.

        In some areas you may encounter Solicitors ( usually females ) on every street corner.

        “criminal solicitation refers to the solicitation of prostitution, the criminal offense of soliciting someone to commit prostitution.”

        NY Penal Code.

        Barristers are not mentioned.Upon meeting a Barrister should I burp him,salute him or just shoot & kill him ?

        • alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit
          Jul 12, 2018 at 12:43 pm

          You made me look this up:

          https://www.diffen.com/difference/Lawyer_vs_Solicitor

          By the way, in sunny San Jose, it’s never too cold for fishnet stockings, LOL. And they’re easily found around1st and Gish, which is about halfway between downtown and the airport.

          And … yesterday I just puta “NO SOLICITING” sign on my shop door, to mean “no pesky door-to-door sellers”.

        • John
          Jul 12, 2018 at 11:21 pm

          @Alex in San Jose

          With all due respect Mr.Alex (and no offence to Mr.Richter either) my idea of California was formed very long time ago.

          Haight-Ashbury where them damn hippies (with flowers in their hairs) are swinging from the trees, getting high and practicing pro-mis-KITTY in the process.

          Dr.Leary making speeches,Gordon Liddy chasing him around the block,Ken Kesey,Merry Pranksters,Psychedelic Bus,(L)ucy in the (S)ky with (D)iamonds…

          Bottom Line:

          Total turn on,tune in & drop out.

          No reality intruded since then (I never visited Left Coast)-therefore this idea remained largely intact.I am sure your idea of Midwest is no more flattering ;-)

          The most important question remains unanswered:

          Upon meeting a Feral Solicitor should I burp him,salute him or just put him out of his Solicitorial Misery by shooting & killing him ?

          Should I proceed as described above or it is permissible to change the sequence of events ( just for the heck of it) ?

      • robt
        Jul 12, 2018 at 5:40 pm

        Borrowing from solicitors/lawyers is common everywhere. They have always been a good source of money from other clients who have too much and want to put it to work. Think doctors, dentists, etc.
        Also, in our area in Canada, they were a good source for second mortgage money, 2nds were always a few points higher, and if the mortgagor defaults the second mortgagee gets first equity of redemption and can take over the property if it’s deemed worthwhile.

        • nick kelly
          Jul 12, 2018 at 7:33 pm

          If the doctor or dentist is the source of the funds, the mortgagee is not the lawyer.

          If the lawyer is the mortgagee, he had better not also be the one drawing up the mortgage.

          I have worked as a realtor, have had to refer difficult situations to brokers and have also used a broker personally.

          In my part of the world, I’ve never heard of a lawyer doubling as a mortgage broker.

          At one time in BC we had two lawyers in Federal lock up, as well as the usual monthly stream of suspensions and disbarred.

          Doubling as a broker sounds like a way to get one of those.

          In the vast majority of the cases where the mortgagor defaults on the first, it is because it is underwater. If the second wanted to take over the property (without bidding against others in a court ordered sale) he would have to assume or pay out the first mortgage.

        • robt
          Jul 13, 2018 at 9:39 am

          The lawyer is not acting as a mortgage broker per se, he has clients that wish to lend money. A lot of people like to lend money for 2nds. They also buy discounted 2nds. A seller may take back a second to make a sale and immediately flog it off at a discount.
          And yes, the equity of redemption means, if it’s worth it, that the first mortgage must be paid out to gain the property. ‘Worth it’ does not necessarily mean that the property has immediate equity in a distressed market, someone may just want it, they are assembling a package, or they are looking to the future.

  6. Sigmund Fraud
    Jul 12, 2018 at 12:14 am

    Wake me when they start indicting the control fraudsters and media shills.

    • Nick
      Jul 12, 2018 at 2:46 am

      mate – you’ll be sleeping for very long time then.

    • Gershon
      Jul 12, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      The banksters own the media, “our” representatives, and the judiciary. They also own “our” regulators and enforcers, as demonstrated by the fact that not a single bankster went to prison for causing the 2008 financial crash or the massive law-breaking and fraud that preceded it.

      So who exactly is this mysterious “they” who will magically start indicting “the control fraudsters and their media shills”?

    • Caliban
      Jul 12, 2018 at 3:38 pm

      Then you should change your username to Ripped Off van Winfraud. Hey, I kind of like that. Never mind, I think that I’ll save that one for myself.

  7. J.M.Keynes
    Jul 12, 2018 at 1:02 am

    – The australian government was VERY reluctant to install the Royal Commission. One major reason was that some of the “top dogs” in the government represented districts with people who are claiming the largest amount of real estate releated tax deductions (known in Australia as “Negative Gearing”)
    https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2016/04/waleed-aly-crushes-turnbull-on-negative-gearing/

    – Australian property/real estate prices were already falling slightly in mid to early 2017. That was the same time when the Royal Commission was installed/established. So, don’t blame the Commission for the falling prices.

  8. Alex
    Jul 12, 2018 at 3:47 am

    Though I am not religious the metaphor of religious sin is useful. No penance was paid and no justice meted out for the 2004-2008 evil actions. After all, the Goldman Sacks CEO was doing God’s Work IIRC. Therefore, for these sins accrued the human race will be cast into Hell.

    • Gershon
      Jul 12, 2018 at 6:10 am

      The sheeple sanctioned Wall Street’s systemic fraud by electing and re-electing Wall Street’s water carriers in the corporate-owned Republicrat duopoly. Even after the 2008 bailout – the biggest screw-job of taxpayers in U.S. history – the sheeple dutifully elected a candidate hand-picked by George Soros and Goldman Sachs. So clearly they’re okay with being bent over and with seeing our captured regulators, enforcers, and Congress critters enable and abet Wall Street’s frauds and swindles.

      • Escierto
        Jul 12, 2018 at 11:09 am

        Half the voting age population does not bother to vote. That only leaves the idiots who have no idea what is in their own self interest.

        • alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit
          Jul 12, 2018 at 12:45 pm

          And that’s the 2016 election in a nutshell…

        • Gershon
          Jul 12, 2018 at 2:27 pm

          Both are equally culpable of sanctioning the corrupt state of affairs we find ourselves in, whether by mindlessly voting for the oligopoly’s stooges or by not voting at all.

      • Smingles
        Jul 12, 2018 at 12:27 pm

        Sydney is in Australia, FYI.

      • Wisdom Seeker
        Jul 12, 2018 at 1:43 pm

        The duopoly never offers the voters a genuine choice. It’s always “be screwed by these guys” vs. “be screwed by those guys”. In 2008 neither major candidate was going to put the sheeple ahead of the bankers.

        In 2008, the sheeple didn’t realize that in order to have a real choice, they have to recapture the political parties.

        By 2016 that worm began to turn with Sanders and Trump. But neither of those is a genuine anti-establishment candidate. So the worm needs to turn a lot farther before an actual pro-sheeple candidate can be elected.

    • MD
      Jul 12, 2018 at 11:20 am

      Yes a certain book also had something to say about the money lenders did it not..?

      Plus ca change…

    • govinda
      Jul 12, 2018 at 5:09 pm

      Thats idiotic. So everyone gets punished because of the actions of a few, or even a sizeable minority? You must be one of those jabba the hut looking antifa types

  9. MC01
    Jul 12, 2018 at 6:49 am

    When I read that real estate speculators and their following have started to move to Hobart I immediately understood the Sydney real estate bubble will be hissing air for a long time still.
    Hobart is what would be called a “secondary” market, both for its small size and because the average wage is about 15% lower than the nationwide average. Speculators usually move into these markets when they have picked the bones of prime markets clean: anybody who has seen purely speculative real estate bubbles knows what I am talking about.

    If Australia is already in this stage, it’s very likely the smart, well-informed and skilled speculators have already exited the market and have left other, far less experienced and starry-eyed speculators to deal with mounting risks.
    For all of those who want to see a big crash, pray it doesn’t happen because otherwise these people will take to the streets and start banging on their pans to demand a bailout. Which they’ll get, courtesy of everybody else, just like mom and pops stock market speculators in China have come to expect the government to bail them out each time Presidente Trump takes to Twitter.

    But if air hisses out of the bubble at a steady yearly pace (say 4-8%), that’s a completely different thing, as Japan learned the hard way. That’s the kind of asset deflation the present Fed likes because it’s far easier to ignore.
    Of course if banks, construction companies and end buyers are so overstretched a 5% drop in real estate valuations is enough to cause them serious problems… the clamor of spoons beating on pans may become deafening.

  10. Jon
    Jul 12, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Would this movie come to usa?
    No respite in southern California w.r.t rising real estate prices

  11. gunslinger
    Jul 12, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Not a mention in the article of China? See how copper is dropping off a cliff along with other commodities? That’s anticipated demand slack from China. China consumes roughly about 40% of all commodities.

    Trump’s trade war is pricking the Chinese bubble economy, which in turn is pricking its dependent neighbor Australia. If there’s another credit pulse from China it all will reverse, although with the Yuan dropping, Chinese will be able to buy less and less with their money (including commodites). Australia is a commodity based economy.

    So stand back from commodities because if the Fed keeps raising rates, the Yuan will drop further (more dollars come home to the USA), and any speculative money is going to be chased out of the commodity complex. US Treasury issuances are like sponges for global dollars.

  12. walter map
    Jul 12, 2018 at 9:43 am

    “Banks are battered by incessant revelations of misconduct.”

    Despite the Royal Commission, it’s very unlikely that the Financial Industrial Complex will be properly prosecuted, reduced, and reregulated as a result of this fiasco, and not only because the FIC largely controls the news media and can propagandize to its black little heart’s content.

    No, to actually fix the system so as to prevent future catastrophes would require the FICs victims to be hurt even more in the process of going after the financiers. Politicians are nearly certain to be completely reluctant to do that. More than mere victims, the general population has also long since been taken hostage by the FIC as human shields. Any prosecutions and reforms will be cosmetic at best, leaving the FIC to further cement its control.

    You never give me your money. You only give me your funny paper . . .
    And in the middle of investigation, I break down.

    Obama was unwilling to defy the FIC and reform the system that because it would mean having to lead the country through another Great Depression, so he settled for a permanent Great Recession instead. FDR was able to do so because the Great Depression was already on, and the damage was already so severe it could hardly be made any worse. Even so, FDR’s reforms have proven to be temporary because in the intervening decades the FIC has successfully corrupted the government to reverse his remedies, until now the entire liberal order of the last eighty years is now about to be abolished completely, Social Security, labor rights, and civil rights included, to be replaced by something very much darker. Life in the US and elsewhere is about to take on a rather surreal unreality.

    That said, the Australian economy won’t actually crash and burn, not this time, not yet. It will be restored by abusing the general population so it can continue to be bled, and in a more exploitable condition.

    The FIC knows all this. It knows how play booms and busts, social dynamics, and political dynamics to its advantage. That’s why banksters rule the world. It’s what they wanted.

    Boy, you’re going to carry that weight,
    Carry that weight
    For a long time.

  13. Kk
    Jul 12, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Why worry, it’s only money, sobs quietly…..

  14. Mean Chicken
    Jul 12, 2018 at 10:21 am

    It’s always the same story isn’t it, bait and switch central banks rescuing over-levered gamblers at the expense of prudent savers in hopes of further inflating larger, their stupendous debt bubble?

    Can’t they see where this is leading?

    • MD
      Jul 12, 2018 at 11:19 am

      … to the next election – and remember, that’s all that counts! Keep them plates spinnin’!

      it only changes when there’s more votes to be had from those priced out of the housing market than from those who are enjoying all the unearned easy gains from their house/cash dispense/rpension provide [one and the same now].

      Sad – but true.

      • Mean Chicken
        Jul 12, 2018 at 11:25 am

        I believe they know exactly what they intend on doing, they’re following the orders of their unnamed employer (where these guys eventually go to collect their prizes).

        • MD
          Jul 12, 2018 at 11:32 am

          Yes true that – corporate capture of our political process (‘our’ being most of the western world) by the world of big finance has created some bizarre effects – most notably for me being third-world levels of wealth inequality, and the normalization of usury.

  15. MD
    Jul 12, 2018 at 11:16 am

    But isn’t it ‘different’ for Australia/Canada/London/delete as applicable..?

    Just the same as it was ‘different’ for Tokyo, c. 1988..?

    Those who talk about the ‘fundamentals of supply and demand’ when in reference to massively over-priced real estate markets [bubbles] which have become detached from all notion of fair value overlook the fact that as soon as the music stops and prices stop rising, all demand disappears in a puff of smoke.

    Exactly the same as the bursting of all other speculative bubbles, strangely. Who’d-a-thunk it?

  16. Bobber
    Jul 12, 2018 at 11:26 am

    It’s emotionally tough to make mortgage payments on an underwater house. I bet some defaults will start popping up.

  17. jon
    Jul 12, 2018 at 11:30 am
  18. phathalo
    Jul 12, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, Ctrl+H, “Australia”, “Canada”

  19. Ambrose Bierce
    Jul 12, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    In the US with the bubble expanding I see people selling out to trade down, for cheaper properties in rural states. People trading up are looking for a better job and that is economically positive (and when you can’t afford to trade up – you keep the old job and the reverse – there goes wage pressure) No better indicator in the US than new housing, which is off badly. New home construction generally undercuts existing home sales. There is no way to turn it around easily as sentiment against urban sprawl and infrastructure overload tend to sour voters. The last great new housing expansion in SoCa led to Exurbia, and ridiculous commutes. The policy of government planners is to warehouse as many as they can into urban high rises. Mortgage rates are a small variable, according to wages and inflation, but in the US at least the baseball bat does little more than dampen the spec. I got cold called from Coldwell Banker yesterday. Did I want to sell?

  20. J.M.Keynes
    Jul 12, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    – When real estate prices continue to rise and (real) wages don’t rise (too much) at the same time then it’s inevitable that – sooner or later – real estate prices will hit an “affordability wall”. After all, the payments for mortgages (Principal and Interest ) have to come out of the income of the person(s) who are holding those mortgages.
    – One can delay the day of reckoning by taking out “Interest Only” loans/mortgages.
    – And this is precisely what has happened and is happening in Australia. Since the year 2000 wages remained flat but real estate prices went ballistic.

  21. amused
    Jul 12, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    don’t forget all the resetting investor loans which have been interest only ( IO ) payments, i.e. no principal repayment… banks are now not refinancing IO but now offering interest and principal loans only. huge jump in payments coming for many speculators….

  22. Ben
    Jul 13, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    I’ve just sold a studio apartment in Sydney. The apartment is quite small, but is in a fairly good area. At the peak of the market it was probably worth about $AU 600k. Sold last month for $AU 550k, so a fall of about 10%. The demand was visibly evaporating before my eyes, and I was cutting thousands off the selling price every month.

    If you are thinking: Dumb greedy property investor who couldn’t see it coming then you would be wrong: I have been doom and gloomish on Australia (not to mention the rest of the world economy) for almost 20 years (about as long as I held the property). I really wanted to exit the market 2+ years ago, but I didn’t have the heart to throw out my long-term tenant. When they finally left of their own accord, I knew that the market was already in trouble. Still, I figured it is still being propped-up by the continued record low interest rates and strong population growth, so the declines are fairly modest so far.

    If the market had really already crashed and I lost money as a result, I still would have the champagne out: What’s happened to Australia as the whole economy has been consumed by the bubble really disgusts me. Sydney natives like myself no longer recognise the place. We grew up in nice houses with a big back yard that normal people could afford. Such places are disappearing and available only to the very rich. The politicians and media need and love the population ponzi too: It is the main thing keeping the bubble going. But is is destroying everything that made Sydney good – the space and the culture.

    • MD
      Jul 14, 2018 at 9:28 am

      Not just Australia/USA/Canada…the four-bed, two-garage village house that my father bought in rural east England (single income 25 year mortgage, 3x salary) in 1974 for GBP 21K now would cost c. GBP 450K.

      If he were in the equivalent job today, the most he could afford would be a one-bed apartment. Nothing at all on a 3x salary 25 year mortgage (maybe a studio apartment or a ‘bedsit’ as we called them back then when ‘properties’ were ‘houses’).

      The result of 40 years of neoliberal policy (along with destruction of the middle class as productive industry was offshored in the quest for short-term stockholder returns) the deregulation of the finance markets during the ‘big bang’ of the 80s.

      S’what happens when countries are run for the whims and desires of their wealthy, rather than the needs of their populaces.

  23. peter
    Jul 18, 2018 at 5:42 am

    So banks are crooks right? So how come I have to prove to them, under this new anti money laundering rule, that I have no criminal record? How’s that work? Surely they should prove to me they are up to the job of looking after my money and have no record; er HSBC, AMP, ANZ etc etc??
    But we don’t own the media or politicians so as usual, we are the ones who get shafted. When will the revolution come…..?

  24. dan
    Jul 20, 2018 at 7:27 am

    The “mortgage meltdown” (aka, “property bust”) is just a symptom of a terminal disease, which is the cancerous spread of corruption that infests the highest levels of government. And you can be sure that while the flotsam and jetsam get it good and hard as their “investments” are eventually force liquidated in foreclosure after foreclosure, the “too big to fail” banks (etc) will be “bailed out” yet again, and the highly paid and “too big to jail” corporate bank execs will be wrist slapped and nothing more. Oh yes, there will be some mid and low level flunkies who get thrown overboard, but not to worry.

    All across the western world, now in terminal decline, the focus is on ANYTHING but the REAL problem. Because it will take a CRASH & BURN economic meltdown and/or a REVOLUTION to REMOVE the THUGS who are firmly in control of the FINANCIAL INDUSTRIES and the GOVERNMENT, by use of their HIGHLY PAID LOBBYIST STOOGES who masquerade as “elected representatives” of the “people”.

    “RULE OF LAW” ? Yes, there are rules for YOU, and then there are rules for the VERY POWERFUL.

    But take heart…you may just be around to see the whole freaking thing come apart at the seams.

    “Though the mills of God grind slowly; Yet they grind exceeding small;
    Though with patience He stands waiting, With exactness grinds He all.”

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