I won’t draw any conclusions here, but I will draw your attention to the following points:
- There are 7.9 million households in Australia, and on average each household owns $298,000 in residential property, e.g. their own house and other rental properties (from ABS Household Wealth and Wealth Distribution, Australia, 2005-06).
- This puts a total value on all residential property in Australia of something like $2,400 billion. However, the market cap for the entire Australian stock market is currently about $1,600 billion (from ASX Historical market statistics).
- Australia is the “fourth-largest retirement savings market in the world” (from the Eureka Report) while superannuation funds are prevented from borrowing any money to buy assets, which is the main way that residential property is bought in Australia.
- When it comes to shares though, the ATO has softened its stance on some types of gearing. Contracts for Difference (CFDs), when bought with cash, are apparently alright (in Interpretive Decision 2007/56), even though CFDs behave very much like borrowing to purchase a share.
- Westpac has bought 441 houses from Defence Housing Australia (according to The Australian and a DHA media release) with the intent of launching Australia’s first residential real-estate investment trust.
- House prices are driven by supply and demand. The superannuation industry has the potential to add a little bit of demand…