By Terry Ryder
Thursday, 10 January 2013
The last time I felt so optimistic was pre-GFC when everything seemed easy.
The world made more sense back then, around 2007-08. We actually had a prime minister with a mandate. There was optimism. Property markets everywhere were growing. Consumers were willing to spend without being bribed or threatened.
Remember those balmy days?
The real estate year just finished was an improvement on the previous, although it may not have felt so to some people. Most city markets stopped falling, and many regional markets made forward progress. It was still, nevertheless, hard yakka extracting sales from cautious consumers.
Enter 2013. It’s only a week and a half old, but it feels mightily different. The Hotspotting website has just had the most lucrative short period since its launch seven years ago.
It seems people have decided to start afresh. New year, new attitude.
I know from my daily communications with consumers and market professionals around Australia that everyone is fed up with negativity. We’ve been drowning in it for too long. Politicians, economists, journalists and other attention-seekers have been feeding us a monotonous daily diet of pessimism.
I’m hoping that the bright start to 2013 represents Australians saying, “Enough!”
Perhaps Australians have finally noticed that none of doomsday predictions of the past five years have come to pass.
Contrary to the dire warnings of chattering economists, Australia did not descend into recession with double-digit unemployment post-GFC.
In contrast to the loud prognostications of an obscure Sydney academic that our house prices would fall 40% in 2009, they actually rose – by an average 13%.
The forecasts of most economists that we would have multiple interest rate rises in 2011 were rendered nonsense when that year ended with not a single rise – but indeed two decreases.
A series of publicity-starved US spruikers forecast the death of our property markets – values to fall 50%, 65%, as much as 90% according to one poor misguided chap – but none of that has happened, either.
Threats that mines would close all over Australia and tens of thousands of people would lose their jobs in the wake of a carbon pricing scheme – compliments of the Shadow Minister for Armageddon, Tony Abbott – have been seen to be overstated.
The end of the mining boom was called when iron ore prices dropped in August/September – never to be resurrected, according to some talking heads – but within three months they were back to boom-time levels.
We were all told that “the crisis in Europe” would mean the end of our prosperity, but essentially nothing has happened.
I think people have started to understand the chasm between reality and the stuff that’s splashed across tomorrow’s fish-and-chips wrappers.
This is going to be a pretty solid year. Most of the key indicators are pointing north. People have decided to get busy in real estate and elsewhere.
Optimism is the new black.