Tuesday, 3 August 2010

First Home Sellers Grant

At last we have some good news for those looking to buy themselves a home to live in: house prices in Australia are coming down (read here). Nothing spectacular there, just a tiny discount, but still something worthwhile discussing given the way the crazy Aussie real estate market.
The thing I find fascinating about this trend is its timing. It wasn't the GFC that brought this price reduction; no, during the GFC Aussie house prices climbed to their highest ever. The trick that made the difference seems to have been the end of the government's so called First Home Buyers Grant, a subsidy the government gave away to new home buyers.
The reason for this explanation is obvious. The house price bubble that seemed to have been eternally growing has to be fueled somehow; that fuel was personal debt. The personal debt of Australians has reached high enough levels to have the housing market go through stagnation, and therefore the first stimulus measure implemented by the government to address the GFC has been the introduction of subsidies. They knew why they wanted to implement this measure: not to help buyers, but rather to help sellers. The grants meant more money was thrown into the market, hence prices going up. Now the subsidies have stopped, and the price caravan is coming to a halt.
I suspect this reduction in house prices is only temporary. Sadly, Australians don't know what's good for them; they have been trained to expect house prices to always go up. The government that will allow the opposite would be a government that will never get elected. My lesson, therefore, is that our government is very consciously doing its citizens wrong by taking active measures to increase house prices while pretending to worry about housing affordability.
Or, as Jarvis puts it, cunts are still running the world.

No comments: