Friday, February 26, 2010

Property Risks

Extract from PropertyUpdate

However over the last 9 months or so, some parts of our property market have increased in price by a rate equivalent to well over 20% per annum. That’s boom conditions as far as I am concerned and unsustainable.

This type of property increase normally happens in the boom phase of the cycle when fear, greed and speculation kick in.

Fear drives property booms as home buyers and investors see property prices going up all around them. They are worried that they will miss out on the profits the boom has delivered to others. Many become overconfident, at a time when they probably should be more cautious, and overpay just to get into the property market, pushing up prices to levels that are (in the short term at least) unsustainable.

At this stage of the cycle properties often sell for more than their asking price as eager buyers compete with each other to snap up any property that comes on to the market. Vendors also become greedy, pushing up asking prices and this just feeds the property boom.

Sound familiar? Isn’t this exactly what is happening in some segments of our property markets today? Because if we are already in boom conditions, the next stage to come is the downturn or bust stage of the cycle. I am sure that the market can’t keep rising as spectacularly as it has over the last few months. And if it does the Reserve Bank will bring it to a halt with rising interest rates.

What I do see happening is property values continuing to surge strongly in selected markets for the first half of this year and then growth will slow. I see a few issues on the horizon.

Finance will be a big issue for property investors this year, some will have difficulty getting it and others will have to pay more for it as interest rates rise.

I also see more trouble ahead for the world’s economies. The world’s debt binge is becoming frightening. A number of European economies are starting to unravel and the spotlight is likely to return to America later this year, as it appears to be a long way from working its way through its own economic woes. This means that there is a good chance that the US stock market will fall again and so will ours.

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