Saturday, July 2, 2011

The big bite

Riding in a bus is a strange mix of the passive and the active. You sit there free to look around and see things that you don't normally notice, and more importantly contemplate them. Round here the thing that is starting to become noticeable, is that the economy is finally starting to show the double whammy of the credit crunch and the floods. Not only in the people you know who are being laid off, but the little telltale signs.

As the bus passes along there are for sale signs in every street. Not just the odd one, which is normal, but multiple dwellings. It is calculated that there are about 8 000 listing in this little suburb alone. And nothing is moving.

This is in part due to the stamp duty doubling recently, but mostly it is that people still want boom time prices. They haven't adjusted their expectations to the new reality that people are broke. This is ironic because many are selling their houses because they can no long sustain their mortgages. In some cases it is due to losing those jobs and others because they were overextended.

Some have put their houses up for auction, which in a market like this is more of a softening tool employed by real estate agents than any hope of a quick sale. They want their clients to get a taste of how tight it is out there so they will drop their prices. In part because they are not realistic and in part because in some areas half the real estate agents have closed... they are in financial trouble like many of their clients. They need the sale as much as the home owner... if not a little more.

Others have put their homes up for lease as they move in the hopes of finding work or downsizing their dwellings. Unfortunately they are competing in a glutted market due to all the development. Many of the towers of luxury apartments are brand new and never been lived in. They are probably quietly drowning those who invested money in the hopes of a modest return while shoring up their future.

All of this is compounded by one simple grim reality which none of the development nor the boom seemed to take into account. Once you get past the wonderful views, there is no work locally. There never has been employment... it's why there are so many retirees... and why everyone commutes... often for hours every day. And really what good are views when it is dark when you leave for work and return home? Something that is probably being pondered by people stuck in the car crawl home.

Mind you if you are planning to buy a piece of paradise... there may be no time like the near future.

No comments: