Property bubble? US$286,000 versus AUD660,000

When we google for property bubble under ‘News’, Australia is one of the first few one countries to be mentioned. Of course, no one has any idea if a bubble is forming and there are points supporting both sides of the debate. However, an article I read in The Sydney Morning Herald pointed out the current difference between the median property price in US which is US$286,000 and Australia which is AUD660,000 (US$468,000, as per current ex. rate). This meant that the Australian median price is around 64% higher when compared to the US today. The US median property price went up 2 percent in 2015.
Slightly earlier in June, for the Australian property market, two housing economists predicted a potential bubble bursting scenario. The article appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald as well. Both of the them, Lindsay David and Philip Soos said that there is already a huge oversupply and pointed out that Melbourne is the epicentre for this property bubble burst. Full article here: australian-housing-market-facing-bloodbath-collapse-economists-20150622-ghu8a6.html  Both pointed out the similarities in the US before the 2008 mortgage crisis which started in the US and went global.
Very briefly, the mortgage crisis in 2008 which happened in US was simply because property prices grew so high that it was unsustainable and burst. It became totally unaffordable to majority of everyone who bought one  then. Everyone was greedy and wished for ever higher prices. Banks kept lending and many of these banks were so badly hit that the US government had to step in to save them.
The article did not conclude on the possibility of a property bubble or the timing. However, it asked a good question. It asked readers to answer whether Australia have a housing bubble by knowing what US$286,000 (AUD403,000) would buy in Sydney or Melbourne. sydneyAs I also wanted to know what can US$286,000 buy in Sydney, I did just that. Using the largest property site in Australia,, I searched for any type of units for below AUD400,000. Answer is, there are still units for this price! I found some units when I searched under  Sydney (NSW 2000). Refer to the image on the left. Choices are really confined to small units and mostly to cater for students or single working adults. Most of these are nearby universities too which explained that most of these units would be for rental instead of for a family.
Another check for Melbourne (VIC 3000) found slightly fewer choices. Refer them here. melbourneFor the question asked, please proceed to decide based on even more readings. AUD400,000 is already RM1.2 million and this is not a small amount that we may want to invest without understand the potential returns. Do note that if the unit is rented out to students, it is not likely that the university will suddenly close down in future, so I guess it is still okay because rental income continues even if the prices suddenly drop. Happy reading more.
written on 13 Sept 2015
Next suggested article: Median income: 57,400 Median property price: 680,000 No bubble yet


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