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The government is seeking a free trade agreement with China by the end of the year, but concerns still remain about Chinese investment in Australia. Daniel Munoz/AAP

Don’t be misled on Chinese foreign investment: read the facts

As Prime Minister Tony Abbott shifts his Asian tour focus to China, it seems likely the threshold for formal approval on Chinese investment in Australia will be raised to A$1 billion. But any move to open…
A former mortgage broker - who is now facing fraud charges - has blown the whistle on predatory lending practices in Australia’s financial services industry. Image from www.shutterstock.com

There are predators in our own backyard, but where are our financial watchdogs?

The level of sub-prime mortgages in Australia may be far in advance of what was previously assumed and provided for by banks. The story was broken on the ABC, and covered elsewhere. The revelations centred…
There is little evidence to suggest that foreign investment is driving up the prices of Australian real estate. AAP

Don’t blame foreign investment for rising house prices

One question that arises on the topic of real estate is the scale of foreign investment and ownership in Australia. It is understandable that the public has concerns about such investment, especially as…
Damned lies and statistics: the figures indicate a significant deficit of dwellings in Australia. But is the methodology sound? Capt' Gorgeous

Beware the rent-seeking organisation: don’t be dudded by housing data

One of the more interesting outcomes the 2011 Census produced was the figures concerning the housing market. The reason for this interest is how the results contrasted with the idea that Australia currently…
The foundations of the real estate industry are threatened by entrenched conflicts of interest. thinkpanama

A toxic mess: vested interests and the real estate industry

Conflicts of interest undermine the quality of advice and policy. It is critical to the functioning of markets and government that parties involved are free of conflicts, especially monetary ones. We would…
Our property prices are propped up by a range of political, economic and even emotional reasons. AAP

Does Australia have the fundamentals to cope with our property prices?

Welcome to Safe as Houses, a series delving into a topic close to the heart of many Australians – property. This is not a series on where the market might be heading. Instead we aim to explore how we view…
Reducing the finance costs of housing will also reduce house prices. Flickr/kennymatic

A house for half the cost? Here’s how

Welcome to Safe as Houses, a series delving into a topic close to the heart of many Australians – property. This is not a series on where the market might be heading. Instead we aim to explore how we view…
The US Occupy movement has turned its attention from corporate greed to the housing market. AAP

As the Occupy movement targets housing, what can we learn here?

Welcome to Safe as Houses, a series delving into a topic close to the heart of many Australians – property. This is not a series on where the market might be heading. Instead we aim to explore how we view…
Are ordinary homeowners perpetuating Australia’s property bubble? AAP

The property bubble makes us slaves to each other’s debt

While my recent commentary (here and here) demonstrates Australian housing is in a bubble, I have not explained where this situation has come from. Asset markets, in this case, property, are the subject…
House prices grew by 127% between 1996 and 2010, but few people believe there is a property bubble. AAP

Are economists ignoring Australia’s property bubble?

One aspect of housing and stock market bubbles continually repeats: the vast majority of economists either miss or deny their existence. In recent years, enormous asset bubbles have burst in many countries…

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