Financial regulators are more concerned about tightening credit than about the housing market.
It’s a good time for the nation’s gathering of financial regulators to release their post-meeting statements: the greater insight into what the Council of Financial Regulators (the Reserve Bank, APRA, ASIC, Treasury) is thinking comes at a time when there’s plenty of misinformation, hysteria and self-interested commentary running on key financial issues.
As we’ve repeatedly noted, there’s plenty of apocalyptic reporting about house prices — even the ABC’s 7.30 weighed in with its own contribution this week — most of which, because it comes out of the Sydney media (usually) or Melbourne, gives the impression that the Australian housing sector that is at risk, when significant (and very welcome) price falls are confined to those two cities. Even then, it’s not an issue for the whole housing market of those cities, but those last in and with the least equity in their mortgaged home who are at most risk. For people with small mortgages, or who are debt free, a fall in house prices and a tightening in lending criteria by the banks is not going to impact their finances. Indeed, for those with money to invest, it may enhance the appeal of property investment, especially if they can get in ahead of Labor’s negative gearing changes.