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The recent house price data from Corelogic are showing further falls in house prices.
The falls are, disconcertingly, most evident in Sydney where prices have dropped 0.5 per cent so far in January, which brings the aggregate fall since the September 2017 peak to a chunky 2.9 per cent. This means that for a $1 million property in September, the value has fallen $29,000 in just 4 months.
The house price weakness is not confined to Sydney.
In Melbourne, the Corelogic data shows house prices topping-out. Prices are down 0.3 per cent from the December 2017 peak which, to be sure, is not a large decline after the stunning increases of previous years, but a fall it is.
There was another round of euphoria as the monthly labour force data hit the screens. The data showed a nice 34,700 rise in employment in December which brought the total rise in jobs in 2017 to 403,100.
This is good news, to be sure, but how good is it really? What is the context for this increase in employment and how is Australia going in an ever vibrant and dynamic global economy?
Of some concern, Australia’s unemployment rate remains at 5.5 per cent – it actually ticked up from 5.4 per cent the prior month. Interestingly, and something less favourable, is the fact that the unemployment rate has been below 5.5 per cent for just two months (October and November 2017) in the last four and half years. Where is that 5 per cent or lower full-employment target everyone reckons we are near?
What’s more interesting, and a sign of the policy sloth that Australia is enduring at the moment, is that around the world, unemployment rates are falling and are impressively low.
Sure each country will have its quirks but have a look at our 5.5 per cent against these countries.