“Property analysts have dashed hopes of a recovery in the national housing market this year, as figures reveal that Perth has overtaken Sydney as the least affordable Australian city for first-home buyers.”

So begins a sobering article in the Oz on the housing market. According to HIA data, the median house price in the capital city of the state now known as the “Texas of Down Under” sits at $444,900. First time house buyers now have to spend, on average, 36.4% of their income on mortgage repayments.

HIA also have more bad news for renters – the pool of available properties will continue to shrink throughout 2007. HIA’s Executive Director of Housing and Economics, Mr Simon Tennent, said there is even more bad news: “The first home owners grant has been eroded to the point that it doesn’t even cover stamp duty in five of Australia’s eight states and territories, despite additional concessions for first home buyers.”

In more positive news, David Smith in The Oz reports on the optimism of the world’s business leaders in the run-up to this week’s World Economic Forum being held in Davos, Switzerland.

The report proclaims that a recent survey found business leaders are bubbling with confidence, with China and India, as usual, leading the way. The falling price of oil, the purported “soft landing” of the US economy and the rise and rise of “Chindia” are all instigators of what the IMF’s managing director, Rodrigo Rato, calls “one of the longest periods of sustained growth in the post-Bretton Woods era”.

Read more at Henry Thornton.