What We’re Reading – Roundup for May 2016

June 8th, 2016

Interested in property but can’t get over the wall of sound? This monthly selection of articles and resources curated by our Principal, Chris Curtis, provides a balanced cut through the noise to help you follow a market that accounts for about 50% of Australian household wealth.

  1. How big is the “transport divide” between inner and outer suburbs?

Summary: If you love Crikey and statistics as much as we do, then this one is for you. Especially interesting is the similarity in time taken to drive from outer and inner suburbs. No wonder Aussies are wedded to their cars.

  1. From Baird to Worse:

Summary: You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to be worried about how the dots join together. Test it against the next article

  1. Reports of the death of Sydney are greatly exaggerated

Summary: The Baird Government seems to rationalise its position on some of the controversial topics by a straight jacket of history. How can this possibly represent an appropriate planning principle?

  1. Urban Density could be a Fool’s Gold

Summary: Is infrastructure like light rail and the Metro being built to meet or to induce demand for property so as to line the State Government’s pockets. A subtle but important distinction for all property buyers.

  1. London’s empty towers

Summary: A perspective on London’s experience. Judge for yourselves from the this and the last three articles whether or not Sydney is following suit.

  1. Climate Change and your Neighbourhood

Summary: This Discussion Paper by the independent Climate Institute is probably the most significant publication this month and makes a long overdue contribution to the question of the impact of climate change on future property values. And that was before the storms of 6 June 2016. If you read nothing else in this Roundup, read this one.

  1. New identification Laws come into force in NSW on 1 July 2016

Summary: Sometimes red tape is a good thing. We have been banging on at about this in our CurtiseCall and Submissions to Parliamentary Inquiries for years. The devil will be in the detail but let’s hope it’s a first step towards better property data across the board. Our concern is that it will not go far enough and require real time reporting of all not just foreign property purchases. As far as Chinese buyers are concerned, check out the next article for a more reasoned non xenophobic analysis.

  1. Why Chinese investment is nowhere near as big as you think

Summary: So called Chinese investment in Australia is nowhere near as widespread or significant as some say and this article also reflects present reality at the coalface where even selling agents are open about the exodus.

  1. How many apartments is too many

Summary: Strange how a topic so unfashionable is now the one on every ones’ lips. This article is the first of many on the possibility of oversupply in Sydney. We were on to it over two months ago and now, it’s spread to the always reliable ratings agencies (don’t laugh) and OECD.

  1. The RBA is now ringing the same bell

Summary: Although not always right, Michael Pascoe is never in any doubt especially when it comes to the returns on property relative to equities. His typically incisive analysis of the nuances in the Governor’s most recent utterances, provides an insight into the RBA’s present thinking.

  1. Investor groups climate proofing properties

Summary: All is not doom and gloom on the climate change front with this article discussing an example of development initiatives designed to mitigate the threat it poses to longer term property values.

  1. Westconnex is war on inner city dwellers

Summary: We have never made any secret of our affection for good mate Elizabeth Farrelly. This article on so many of the themes covered earlier is one of her best and well researched in some time. Again, interesting to read it in the light of Rod Stokes’ earlier piece outlining the Government’s position.

  1. Satyajit Das says the big four banks are more vulnerable than they appear

Summary: This is the chap who picked the GFC, knows the banking world inside out and he is worried about our Big Four Banks.

  1. Jane Jacobs’s take on our smart cities

Summary: This puts Sydney’s current urban planning issues in a delightful historical perspective.

  1. You’re never more than 30 minutes away from the most exciting time to be an Australian

Summary: For a lighter hearted but even more cynical take on many of the above topics as we move ineluctably towards an election, it is hard to go past First Dog on the Moon.