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CEO AllenWargent Property Buyers, & WargentAdvisory (institutional). 6 x finance author.

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Friday, 25 November 2016

5 nations property prices

5 nations

The Bank for International Settlements released its latest updated residential property price statistics this week.

On the "long series", being nominal prices tracking back to 1970, Australia's index continued to move moderately higher, up by 4 per cent over the year to June 2016.

This was well behind countries such as New Zealand which blazed another 14 per cent northwards, driven by an Auckland frenzy. 

Of course, the long series figures are nominal and are not seasonally adjusted, but present a few mildly interesting insights into the twin dynamics of inflation and compound growth.

In Australia for example, home prices are more than 41 times higher than they were in 1970. 

Australia did not introduce inflation targeting until mid-1993. Today Australia has a stated inflation target of 2 to 3 per cent, which is high in global terms. 


Below I've thrown in a few of our rugby playing friends into the same chart.

Seen in this context, the Wallabies have seen their property prices increase far ahead of les Bleus since the financial crisis. 

In fact, French property prices are 'only' 16 times higher than they were in 1970, although notably Paris is a very expensive city these days. 

In Great Britain prices have stormed 52 times higher over the same time period, and in New Zealand - where Auckland prices in particular have gone into orbit over the last decade - prices have increased by an astonishing 61 times since the beginning of the data series. 

Britain ran high rates of inflation too in the 1970s, while New Zealand was the pioneer of inflation targeting in adopting a formal target as early as 1990.


As in New Zealand, indexes have been skewed higher in recent years by strong capital city price growth in Great Britain (London) and in Australia (Sydney, Melbourne).

Strictly speaking the indexes aren't quite comparable since data coverage is slightly different in each country.

Mostly what these figures really tell us is the importance of picking inflation-busting assets. 

The BIS methodology and data coverage is detailed here

With South Africa running high rates of inflation over a long period of time, Springbok property prices are a monstrous 99 times higher than in 1970 in nominal terms. 

"99", of course, is a number with special meaning for international rugby fans, particularly of Britain and South Africa! 

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The infamous '99 call'.