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25 February, 2016

Australian housing market: “Insane.”

Not a question of if but when there will be a mortgage crisis.”

Real estate is local – until it isn’t. Cities have their own housing bubbles that implode on their own time. But once contagion spreads to mortgages and banks and infects confidence of real estate investors and homebuyers alike, and once debt levels are so high that they have become unsustainable and can’t be pushed higher, then a real estate bubble suddenly becomes a national economic issue with terrible consequences.

In Australia, which has the highest household debt in the world, “homes are so expensive that nearly half of all mortgages are interest-only.” They’re offered by the biggest banks with loosey-goosey lending standards. And “that is a red flag for imminent disaster.

It’s not a question of if but when there will be a mortgage crisis in Australia,” explained Jonathan Tepper, CEO at research firm Variant Perception, on the local 60-Minutes segment, Home Groans, that aired in Australia on Sunday.

He’d predicted the mortgage meltdowns in the US, Ireland, and Spain. And the one word that best describes the Australian housing market? “Insane.”

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