I thought that what happened in US since 2007 (and in Japan back in 1990) would have taught people some lessons. But human greed knows no bound. Either they don’t read news, or they’re too greedy. There are still booming undying bubbles in China, Taiwan, Canada, Australia.
It is apparent that most participants recognize the value of housing investment in protecting assets against inflation. It has been the preferred financial instrument, especially in Asian culture, to buy real estate because
1. It won’t go to zero, because it’s “real” estate, and you will always have it.
2. It pays out dividends in the form of rent.
3. It always “goes up” in the long term.
My colleague asked me whether I know how much real estate has gone up since 50 to 60 years ago. He told me it’s tens of thousands of percents. Well, but one must recognize the fact that since 1930, $US has depreciated 94% in buying power, according to government official statistics (and probably worse if using unofficial figures). The primary reason that real estate goes up in the long term is because of general inflation. Since a couple of decades ago, another factor that helps real estate price is that the financing costs/interest rates have been going down. However, over the long term, the average real estate prices cannot exceed inflation rate by too much and/or for too long. Why? If real estate simply returns 1% more every year than the general inflation, after 100 years, real estate price will be 270% higher than the general wages. After 200 years, real estate price will be 732% higher than the general wages. Well, the economic law of supply and demand will always balance things out. Eventually, either people cannot afford homes anymore, and younger generation stops forming families, resulting in reduction or stagnation in population, and therefore reducing demands for homes, or the home prices will simply FALL behind the general inflation rate. And I can bet you that it will happen before real estate prices are 732% higher than the general inflation rate. In fact, both Japan and Taiwan are already showing such signs of either declining population or stagnant growth. If you have so much money that you don’t need to worry about future, housing, employment, etc, and you have all the leisure time in the world, won’t you tend to have children? On the other hand, the opposite extreme scenario would probably be true also. So if the population is declining, who is going to fill up the existing housing space, not to mention that builders will always build more. Imagining a hypothetical scenario, where for every grand kid, he or she is inheriting at least 2 homes from both sides of the grandparents, and/or parents, and/or any unmarried relatives who have passed away, now won’t the housing and/or rent price go down because there are extra supplies versus demands? Of course, before long, economic law of supply and demand will kick in, and population would have increased.
What I’m trying to point out is that it is simply IMPOSSIBLE for housing prices to stay higher than inflation rates for too long. Those that bet on housing prices will increase 10% above inflation rate every year are simply delusional.