The doomsayers are wrong: fundamentals for Australian property values are sound. Even in the worst-case scenario of a serious downturn in the domestic economy, there is a host of reasons that point to a soft landing for Australian real estate.
- It has held up remarkably well during a time of almost unprecedented economic uncertainty.
- Most of that decline has been borne by houses, off 3.9 per cent in the past 12 months with most pain concentrated in the top end of the market, while there has been hardly any movement in home unit prices.
- Look back two years, and in almost every capital, except Perth, home values are steady or slightly below 2009 levels. Sydney, however, has bucked the trend. Prices have risen strongly over that two-year period and in the past 12 months they've remained barely changed against drops of between 4 and 7 per cent in the other capitals.
- Our population is concentrated on a narrow strip of coastal fringe
- Different to American Real Estate -The main difference is in the way our banks lend -fully recourse whereas in the US, they are non-recourse - you can simply walk out, leave in the keys in the door and let the bank take the pain. In Australia the bank will chase you for the outstanding cash and bankrupt you if need be. The result is that Australians are less likely to default than Americans, even under extreme duress.
- Significant supply-side constraints have conspired to keep Australian home prices high. population increases outstripped housing growth for the first time in more than half a century.
- Our banks are hugely exposed to residential real estate. So those predicting a crash in housing prices are, by association, predicting a crisis in the Australian banking system.
- That spendthrift attitude we had back in the boom has long gone. We've now become a nation of savers and deposit growth has surged to record levels. In August alone, we slapped another $28 billion into the bank vaults.
- We don't have vast numbers of empty dwellings up for sale. Most of ours are occupied.