mortgage defaults

The Nine papers’ months of bubbling property-price reporting finally came to the boil this morning. The Australian Financial Review was packed with breathless coverage of an apparent spike in residential real estate prices.

National affairs editor Jennifer Hewett used her column to share an anecdote of attending an auction with her son, who “made a few limited attempts to get into the buying spirit at a much higher price than either he or his partner thought they should make … But he was quickly trumped by others willing to purchase a modest two-bedroom apartment at a level that would have been considered fantasy several months ago”.

This is joined by reports on Australia’s most expensive residence selling for $140 million, and “desperate”, “frustrated” property buyers who are “paying ‘well over value’ due to a lack of stock at the top end of the market”.

This follows reporting over the weekend on ANZ economists’ predictions that “Sydney and Melbourne house prices will be growing at more than 12% per annum by the middle of next year” by senior economics correspondent for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald Shane Wright, as well as the AFR‘s prediction earlier this month that house market growth will return to something “close to boom times”.

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Is the hysteria really warranted, or is it just the customary bump in the property market that happens every spring? Of course, reporting in breathless terms on this sellers’ market is in the interests of their Nine stablemate and cash printing machine, Domain