April 10, 2024 by Dymphna

House price boom continues at full steam: the economy in pictures

See the world through the eyes of an economist: House prices, immigration and chocolate prices.

These are the charts that caught my eye this week. First up, the housing shortage remains in full effect. It’s not just about the number of physical houses in the country, which I’ve written about before, but also the number of properties for sale on the market. New listings to the market are about average, but the total listing stock remains at historic lows.

That’s even though sales are declining, with monthly sales also hovering around record lows. I mean, why would you sell a property going into a boom unless you had to?

The total number of companies going bankrupt in Australia has reached the highest levels since 2015, thanks largely to higher interest payments.

But a big part of that uptick is insolvencies in the construction sector, which continues to have a horror run. This is part of the reason why construction rates are actually falling right now. 

A business survey in New Zealand has shown that firms’ hiring intentions have fallen sharply. NZ led the cycle in and out of Covid, so suggests that more labour market weakness is ahead for Australia, which has been anticipated.

Finally, the solar eclipse in the US has created an epic tourism event. You can track the course of the full eclipse by looking at the occupancy rates for Airbnb in America.

And that’s how the world looked through the eyes of an economist this week.