Quick Asian housing news round up:
“SEOUL, Nov 4 (Reuters) – Housing prices across South Korea will rise in 2010 for a sixth consecutive year and by the fastest pace in four years, an industry association research agency forecast on Wednesday.” (when do industry association representatives ever say anything else?) , “Kookmin Bank said on Monday housing prices rose for a seventh consecutive month in October from the previous month following a six-month decline.
“Demand for private homes has experienced “strong growth” and unchecked price gains may expose the property market to risks in the global economy, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said in its Financial Stability Review today.”, “This comes after property prices rose 15.8% in the third quarter of this year, the most in 28 years, after dropping 25% in the previous four quarters.”
“Chinese real estate figures out on Tuesday show investment in the sector was up 18.9 per cent in October, while property sales soared 48.4 per cent year-to-date.”, “This is further evidence that strong bank lending and easy liquidity conditions are creating an overheated property market.”
In Hong Kong…
“Statistics compiled by CB Richard Ellis, an estate agent, show that prices of high-end flats have risen by 40% since January, and are now just 13% below their 2008 pre-crisis peak. Some are once again priced at record levels.”
“Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) — Taipei’s residential prices may rise 15 percent in 2010″ (That’s right – one random dude’s guess is apparently worthy of an entire news article at a major news agency)
“Wealthy Taiwanese eye luxury homes in the south”
Also repeated here in the Taipei Times (Thanks Michael).
In fact, the Taipei Times also adds this little nugget: “Taiwan joined Singapore, Hong Kong, India and China in moving to prevent excessive property-market swings, after falling interest rates drove prices higher.”
So… wait a minute… how long have Taiwanese rates been low? (Answer: a long time). And how long has it been known that low interest rates cause asset bubbles (Answer: a long time – 80 years, at least). So why wasn’t this rapidly put in place when prices were swinging UP, effectively stealing the future earnings of the youth of the country and handing them to the old? Oh wait, maybe I know… taxes are higher when property prices are higher… and taxes go lower when property prices go lower.
So who do Asian economists blame for these Asian bubbles?
“Fed May Cause Next Crisis, Hong Kong’s Tsang Suggests”
What a surprise.
“Where is the money going — it’s where the problem’s going to be: Asia,” Tsang said. “You can see asset prices going up, not only in Korea, in Taiwan, in Singapore and in Hong Kong, going up to levels that are incompatible or inconsistent with the economic fundamentals.”
Oh dear, poor little Asia. At least they’re making serious progress in placing the blame elsewhere – the next stage of the crisis hasn’t even happened yet and yet it’s clearly America’s fault.
Summary & My Opinion.
Asian housing propaganda (’houses always go up!!!’) is once again filling the newspapers. Meanwhile, local governments pour money into the economy, keep interest rates low, and fail to regulate their housing and asset markets properly.
Yet when this all goes wrong it will be America’s fault apparently.
Hmm. My view is that a lot of people who failed to learn a lesson in 2008 are going to get burned again. More banks went bust in the USA this year than in any previous year, and losses are continuing. While modest GDP growth has been achieved in some countries thanks to a huge stimulus spending program and low interest rates, there is no indication that the world is really out of crisis yet. So why are people once again paying record prices to buy little piles of bricks and wood? I have no idea. It seems crazy.