D-day for Australia’s Real Estate Bubble?

by Pater Tenebrarum, Acting Man:

Unknowable Degrees of Bubble Insanity

Back in February, we brought you an update on the truly insane real estate bubble in Australia (see: “Australia’s Housing Bubble – In the Grip of Insanity” for details) in the wake of Jonathan Tepper of Variant Perception reporting on an eye-opening fact-finding tour in Sydney.

This rotting shack in Sydney and its tiny plot of land sold for nearly $1 million in May of 2014 – more than two years ago. Since then, house prices in Australia have increased even further. Yes, it is an insane bubble, no doubt about it.

As every seasoned market observer knows though, the fact that a bubble has obviously attained crazy proportions does not mean it cannot become even crazier. We only need to think back to the Nikkei index in the late 1980s, the Nasdaq in the late 1990s, or the grand-daddy of modern-day bubble insanity, the Souk Al-Manakh bubble in Kuwait in the early 1980s.

The latter example is generally less well known than the others, but it is unsurpassed in terms of sheer mass dementia. What made this bubble so special – at its peak Kuwait’s stock market had a total capitalization of more than $100 billion, which made it the third-largest equity market in the world behind the US and Japan at the time, a fact that should have told market participants they were skating on very thin ice – was the use of post-dated checks to pay for stock purchases.

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