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Flat Stanley Audio Collection CD

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Poor Stanley. He's a perfectly normal boy until one morning he wakes up flat. After his parents peel the incriminating bulletin board off of him, Stanley must adjust to life as a pancake. He is a boy who takes this kind of thing in stride, though, and soon he's enjoying the advantages of squashedness. Sliding under closed doors is fun, and it's gratifying to be of use to his mother when she drops her ring through a narrow metal grating. Expensive plane fare to California? No problem. Svelte Stanley folds comfortably into a brown paper envelope. There's even room left over in there for an egg-salad sandwich. But Stanley's true moment of glory comes when a gang of thieves begins stealing paintings from the Famous Museum of Art. The case seems hopeless--until our two-dimensional hero saves the day. Here is one boy who doesn't let his profile-challenged body stop him from living life fully--that is, until his brother finds a way to help him become well rounded again. Jeff Brown's matter-of-fact tone and Tomi Ungerer's witty and engaging drawings tickle the funny bone, making this 1964 classic a perennial favorite. (Ages 4 to 8) --Emilie Coulter

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Angelcare Bath Support, Blue

  • Includes 1 bath support
  • Made from plastic
  • Easy to hang with hook loop

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The Angelcare Bath Support helps create a comfortable experience for your baby by providing a safe resting place during bath time. Made of durable, soft touch material that's mold resistant and hygienic, the ergonomic bath support features an anti-slip guard on its base. The support rinses and drains easily after use and includes a convenient built-in hook for quick drying and simple storage.

Bath Support At a Glance: Supports your baby and allows water to flow freely during bath timeErgonomic, soft touch surface is mold resistantAntislip base for safetyDrains, rinses, and dries easily after each useConvenient carry handle and hook Age/Weight Requirements:

Up to six months and 30 pounds


Limited one-year warranty

Angelcare Bath Support, Blue Product Shot

The Angelcare Bath Support holds babies safely and comfortably during bath time. View larger.

Ergonomic Support During Bath Time

For comfort and hygiene, the Angelcare Bath Support holds babies safely in place so you can concentrate on enjoying bath time with your child. It is designed to let water flow through during the bath. The bath support features an anti-slip guard on the base for stability.

Made with Soft Touch Material

The sturdy bath support is made with soft touch material, providing a comfortable place for babies to rest during bath time. This durable, mold-resistant seat keeps its contoured shape. The support is appropriate for newborns up to six months with a maximum weight capacity of 30 pounds.

Easy-to-Clean Bath Support

You can easily rinse the bath support after each use to keep it clean and mildew free. The support drains and dries quickly. For easy storage, it offers a built-in hook to hang up when not in use.

Portable with No Assembly Required

For moving from one bathroom to another or for easy travel, the portable bath support features a carry handle. Plus, there's no assembly required--it's ready to use right out of the box.

The Angelcare Bath Support is backed by a manufacturer's limited one-year warranty.

About Angelcare:

Based in Montreal, Angelcare designs and manufactures baby monitors and other baby safety products that help new parents and caregivers reduce their anxiety. Started in 1997 by a new father, Angelcare's first baby movement monitor utilized technology that could distinguish a baby's slightest movements. Angelcare Monitors are currently available around the world and include movement, sound, and video capabilities. The company continues to develop new products that make life easier and less stressful for new parents.

See more products from Angelcare

What's in the Box

Angelcare Bath Support.

Trademark Information:


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BIS forecast property growth in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin

From BIS Shrapnel:

Source: BIS


APM: Sydney on track for best ever winter property results

From Dr. Andrew Wilson of APM:

"After coming close during the past three months, Sydney has finally smashed through the 80 per cent barrier by recording a sensational 81 per cent auction clearance rate at the weekend.
Following last weekend's 77.5 per cent clearance rate, the normally quieter July mid-winter auction market is now on track to record its best ever results.
The best regional result in Sydney this weekend was recorded in the south with an exceptional clearance rate of 87 per cent. This was despite it having the highest number of auction listings.
The lower north shore at 86 per cent and the city and east at 85 per cent also provided outstanding regional auction clearance rates at the weekend.
Sydney's housing market has continued to build momentum so far this year with buyer and seller activity clearly rising over the past six months.
Latest ABS data confirms Sydney's strong auction clearance rate data with housing loans approved for owner occupiers in NSW rising by a strong 12.6 per cent over May to be up by nearly 7 per cent over the first five months of this year compared with the same period last year."


England dry...

Seriously, how hard are the grounds this summer? England's cricket pitches are as flat as a tack - not to mention as hard as a cat's head. It's like The Oval 1976 relived (not that I was actually born then, but I've seen the videos of Viv Richards, and all that).

I seem to be hitting 'em pretty well, just quietly, but it takes me about a week-and-a-half to recover from a fielding session. 

How on earth anyone plays until they are nearly 40, I'll never know. Practice, I suppose.

A nice little pic from last weekend...


Ferrero Nutella Made in Italy - Giant Jar 11 lbs

  • Made in Italy

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US jobless data sends stocks to record highs

Jobless data keeps on improving in the US, and, combined with better than expected earnings this sent the S&P 500 up to new record highs as investors also weighed up Bernanke's testimony.

At the time of writing the Dow is up by well over 100 points or 0.7% to above 15,570, with the S&P 500 also up by 0.7%.

Interesting, trivia: stocks are up by well over 100% since Barack Obama commenced the Presidency.

With stock valuations increasingly so dramatically since 2009, Anatole Kaletsky sees the breakout representing a new, long-term US bull market. From Reuters:

"The bull market in global equities that started in the dark days of early 2009 passed a historic milestone this week. When the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed on Monday at 1682.5, this did not just represent a new record high and a full recovery from the swoon that Wall Street suffered after Ben Bernanke’s “tapering” comments in late May. 

More importantly, Monday’s record close marked the first time this key Wall Street index exceeded by more than 10 percent its peak at the climax of the last great bull market in March 2000."


Stocks belted; AUD hits 20 month low

Dow off 217 points overnight or 1.4%.

The Aussie dollar plunged as low as 95.1 cents before recovering a little.

Strong US payroll data on Friday could send us down to new lows and towards 90 cents which in turn would be welcome news for Australia's economy.


Inner west "the new prestige environment"

It might be a stretch to say that the inner west of Sydney is the new prestige environment for property owners - the eastern suburbs will always be the most favoured as they are closer to the beaches - but as I've suggested on this blog since I first started it, the inner west has been the hot sector for some time.

These things move in cycles, though, and the east's time will come again. The lower north shore is also a popular choice these days.

The popular press and the laggards are finally latching on to the fact that the property markets are on the up, which has been reflected in the figures reported by RP Data since the start of the cycle: Sydney +8.5% to a new peak, Perth +9.0% and even Melbourne once again +6.5%.

However, the gains have been muted in Brisbane and Adelaide given the low interest rate environment.

It's probably time to start looking ahead to when this property cycle will stall and reverse.

With all major capital city markets other than Sydney remaining below their peaks and Sydney perhaps showing the strongest fundamentals, it could be a case of the Sydney market running away as the rest plateau. 

Perth has surprised us before so it will be interesting to see if it can keep up its outstanding run.


US jobless claims drop to 5.5 year low

From Reuters:

"The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell unexpectedly last week, touching a 5-1/2 year low, suggesting a steadily improving labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000, the lowest level since January 2008, the Labor Department said on Thursday."
A volatile series but promising news nonetheless. More important will be the July employment report on Friday, which economists expect to show an unemployment rate dropping a notch to 7.5%.
Reuters again:
The government's closely monitored report is expected to show nonfarm payrolls increased 184,000 last month after rising 195,000 in June, according to a Reuters survey of economists."
Dow Futures are up by more than 100 points in response to the news while investors try to second-guess ongoing stimulus plans.


Oh Lordy!

Aussie dollar hits 91.6 cents! 

Might have to unwind my USD position a little. 

Crumbs, what an exciting few weeks on the currency markets!

In spite of the share market correction, futures markets are pricing out a July interest cut (17% chance). It's hard to envisage with the dollar falling and property prices moving up strongly.


Nutri Bullet NBR-12 12-Piece Hi-Speed Blender/Mixer System

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Labour data pushes out the next rate cut

The futures markets continue to price in another interest rate cut to 2.50%, but after the promising Labour Force and unemployment data, it doesn't look to be coming for a month or three yet.

We've also had several consecutive months of steadily increasing housing finance data, which suggests that the notion of falling dwelling prices was flawed, as a fair number of us had intimated all along. 

Back on June 4, the RBA left the official cash rate in June unchanged at 2.75%

The next RBA Board Meeting and Official Cash Rate announcement will be on July 2 and 30 Day Interbank Cash Rate Futures July 2013 contracts are trading a shade above 97.3, which indicates only about a one-in-four expectation of an interest rate decrease to 2.50% at the next RBA Board meeting.

Given that the next round of CPI (inflation) data, isn't due until July 24, I'd have to agree that August 6 looks to be a significantly more likely candidate for a rate cut than July does.

And by then, of course, we'll all have a clearer picture on retail activity and more employment stats to digest.

Potential curve balls on the horizon - a bubble in China? Some concerning news stories doing the rounds...

Source: ASX


Foot & Heel Balm Cream Plus for very dry, rough feet & cracked heels , NO PARABENS, NO CHEMICALS, NON-STEROIDAL - Visible Effects Within 5 Days! Made in Australia! BEST QUALITY!

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Will property prices appreciate at 10% per annum?

I was surprised to learn that reputable buyers agents are still promoting the idea that property prices will appreciate at 10% per annum at their seminars and home-buying shows.

We've come to expect nothing less from property 'clubs', of course, as they tend to be somewhat evangelical in their approach, promoting property as a magical risk-free asset class which always goes up 10% per annum.

And besides, it seems that sometimes people almost want to hear that prices will boom interminably - they find the phrase "property always goes up" soothing to the ears.

The tired old phrase "property goes up 10% per annum" was spawned from the days when inflation was very high, and the cost of almost everything was going up rapidly.

And then a combination of factors including plummeting interest rates, deregulation of lending standards and a boom in the number of two income households allowed rapid price growth to continue through the 1990s and beyond.

Over the past decade, while some parts of Australia have forged ahead with very rapid price growth, others have by and large tracked the growth in household incomes.

If we take a look at the today's economy, we find that:

-Inflation is currently tracking at 2.5%, which is comfortably in the middle of the target 2-3% range;

-Interest rates are sitting at 2.75%, which is way lower than the double digit rates which were seen two decades ago - so these cannot fall much further; and

-wages are growing at 3.2%.

The speed limit for the price growth of property is ultimately our ability to pay for it.  So unless you have an IQ which is diminishing at 10% per annum, you can see quite clearly that long-term property price growth of 10% per annum will not eventuate.

Let's be generous and say that household income growth in the future continues to grow in perpetuity at 4% per annum.

And let's take the example of a capital city suburb where a dwelling costs $500,000 and household incomes are around $100,000 (these aren't the national averages, but its a reasonable enough representation for the purposes of this exercise).

Here is how the incomes, dwelling prices and the dwelling price to income ratios would pan out over the years if prices grow at 10% per annum:

Household income
Property price
Price/income ratio

As you can see, it is a nonsense.

A dwelling will not cost $58 million in 50 years time and prices most certainly won't reach 83 times incomes. 

So if a buyers agent tells you that property prices will continue to go up at 10% per annum, they either aren't very clever, in which case you probably shouldn't hire them, or they are lying to you, in which case you definitely shouldn't hire them.

It's pretty obvious that this kind of price growth isn't going to eventuate absent a return to rampant inflation. 

10% growth didn't happen in 2011 and nor did it occur in 2012. And even in the past 12 months with interest rates now at record lows, none of the major capital cities has achieved 10% growth.

Of course, it's a possibility in any given year, but even if we allowed the introduction of Singapore-style 40 year mortgages and abandoned all pretence of macroprudential restrictions, it's still a huge call to say that it could continue for long.

Naturally enough markets don't tend to move smoothly, Instead they jump ahead before falling back, and this happens in cycles. In Britain I recall prices storming along at double digit levels for year after year until Gordon Ramsay sounded the death knell.

Gordon Ramsay, you ask? I'm serious! There's often a point in bull markets when "taxi drivers and shoe-shine boys" (in other words, every man and his dog) start to talk up the asset class as a sure thing, and in his 2007 book Humble Pie Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay said that when young chefs came to him for advice he told them to buy a property to live in and then invest in more property.

Cue the property crash.

In most areas outside London, prices are still behind where they were in 2007, so the "10% per annum growth" theory doesn't seem to quite tally in the UK.

In Ireland, it wasn't a chef who sounded the death knell, it was some other comedian. Again, I'm serious! In July 2007, Irish independent journalist and comedian Brendan O'Connor urged people to buy property, even though there was clear evidence that the huge price appreciation of the preceding years was in the process of bursting.

Cue the property meltdown.

Does this mean I am bearish on Australian property? No. We did have a moderate downturn through 2011 and 2012, which on balance was a good thing for our markets. But lower interest rates have reduced the repayment levels on new and existing mortgages, the markets have stabilised and capital cities are showing moderate growth. 

We've avoided recession, to date at least, with a GDP growth of 2.6% and unemployment has remained low at around 5.5%. 

There will be very challenging times ahead no doubt as the mining construction boom tapers off, but monetary policy can stimulate other sectors of the economy and with Australian population growth surging to a crunching 392,500 persons per annum, it's my contention that property investors who are smart and stick to quality properties in supply-constrained capital city suburbs will do well over the longer term.

But property price growth of 10% per annum? Send for the men in white coats!


Transparent Classic Hot Water Bottle - Made in Germany

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Rates on hold at 2.75% - easing bias remains

As expected, rates on hold at 2.75%, but the Statement suggests that there may yet be a further cut or two to come in the cycle.

"At today's meeting the Board judged that the easier financial conditions now in place will contribute to a strengthening of growth over time, consistent with achieving the inflation target. It decided that the stance of monetary policy remained appropriate for the time being. 

The Board also judged that the inflation outlook, as currently assessed, may provide some scope for further easing, should that be required to support demand."


Do the RBA's Statements seem to look the same to you month-on-month? Well, guess what...!


IMF sees UK recovery

From today's Times

The IMF expects the UK to experience economic growth this year of 0.9% (slightly higher than previously expected), and next year economic growth is forecast to tick up to 1.5%.

Meanwhile, according to The Times, surveys at the weekend show that the UK housing market is "roaring back to life".

There certainly seem to be growing expectations of housing market growth ahead here.


The stock paradox

Strange world we live in now. Over in the US the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported here the non-farm payroll data:

"Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 175,000 in May, and the unemployment
rate was essentially unchanged at 7.6 percent".

So the US continues to add jobs. Here's the seasonally adjusted chart:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The participation rate was also fairly steady, ticking up 10bps to 63.4%. Not too shabby overall. "Decent enough" one might say.

Here's the chart of the US unemployment rate:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The unusual thing about the interpretation of the data is that stock market analysts and institutional investors had feared that a drop in the unemployment rate could see an end to the Fed's stimulus program.

Christopher Joye over at the AFR, who always has a nice way with words, refers to 

"Ben Bernanke’s  tautological statement that the Federal Reserve will have to wind back its 
$85  billion a  month money printing program if US conditions continue to improve."

A moderate increase in the headline rate of unemployment to 7.6% ensures that, for now at least, this won't be the case. The Bureau calls this "essentially unchanged" and they are probably right, as the trend still appears to be down.

The US markets went on a field day, with the Dow adding more than 200 points in the trade.

Bad news can be good news: the strange new world of quantitative easing we live in.

In Japan the Nikkei 225 Index ran all the way up from 8,328 to 15,942 in the past 12 months, before investors got scared and triggered a correction.

The tremendous shot in the arm for stock valuations was Japan's own stimulus program. The economy has been in the doldrums for so long that drastic action was taken, and investors fearful of raging inflation piled into stocks with valuations doubling accordingly in just one year.

Note that, just as in the US where stock valuations have roared up well over 100% since 2009, there is very little emphasis here on fundamentals or the strength of the economy. Moreover, hot money seeking returns simply flies into the market.

The upshot of this phenomenon will likely be volatility. That is, sharply rising stock valuations where quantitative easing is undertaken followed by sharp corrections when the stimulus is taken away.


In Australia, the stock market has never quite recovered with the same fervour since 2009, perhaps partly hampered by our strong dollar.

We have seen an element of the 'bad news is good news' in property markets though. 

As the world's economies crumbled from 2007-2010, there was something of a feeling of "the worse the world gets, the better Australian property will" and low interest rates fired capital growth up until 2011.

This led some foolish commentators to state that they "can't wait for the next global financial crisis". 

Quite apart from being an unpleasant and facetious thing to say, this is also hopelessly naive. The mistaken attitude showed itself again in late 2012 as the cash rate was cut with plenty of misguided celebration by property investors. 

Yes, lower interest rates are good, but you also need to consider why the cash rate has been cut so low - it corresponds to slower economic growth and thus a heightened risk of recession.

While low interest rates can sometimes cause a property price boom, this is by no means always the case. Just ask people in Britain or the US.

Ultimately, over the long term countries need a strong economy and growing wealth to justify higher asset prices.

Mark Bouris of Yellow Brick Road stated this week that "over the next 5 years Australian property will be the hottest asset class you can possibly think of".

Is he right? That will be the subject of my blog post later today...


What to expect from the week ahead...

Interesting week of data ahead.

On Tuesday we get the Housing Finance data for April from the ABS.

Obviously there is something of a time lag in this data set, but I'm expecting to see a continuation of the moderate growth in the value of dwelling commitments (currently y/y +4.;5%). 

What would be really nice to see, though, would be an upturn in finance for construction of dwellings (currently y/y +4.6%).

Then on Wednesday we get the Lending Finance data for April. In particular, keep an eye out for housing finance for owner occupation - growth has been weak to date (+1.1% y/y), so some signs of life would be welcomed.

And then on Thursday, of course, we get the Labour Force data.

Most sensible people have given up trying to forecast the employment figures, given that the small sample sizes, poor response rate and sample rotation lead to such erratic results.

The employment figures have been showing an emphatic 'sawtooth' formation - up strongly one month and then down again the next.

Last month the economy reportedly 'added' 50,100 jobs in April. The market expects therefore May to show  a 'drop' of around 10,000 jobs, but if past history is anything to go by, the drop could in fact be well over half of the jobs added in April. Go figure.

As for the headline rate of unemployment, it 'fell' last month to 5.5%, but the longer term trend is a gentle rise, so it would be no surprise to see that increase again either.


Rising exports lead to trade surplus in May

4th month of trade surplus in a row, driven by a large jump in iron ore exports and coal. A large increase in exports to China this month.

Trade surplus was $670m for the month, with the market only having expected around $50m.

Heartening to know that we do also sell resources and not only build mines!

Graph: This graph shows the Balance on Goods and Services for the Trend and Seasonally adjusted series

Source: ABS


UK property prices record all-time highs after 7 consecutive monthly rises

In truth it's been a two-speed story all along. 

In cities such as London and Cambridge in the populous south-east property price gains have barely skipped a beat over the last 5 years and analysts expect this trend to continue.

It's why I have always advocated prime locations where property demand is highest.

In Britain, those who opted for medium-density dwellings including flats, townhouses and maisonettes in the quality suburbs in and around London have seen their property portfolios outperform.

Those who opted for higher-yielding detached housing in the north of the country where demand has been much lower (in particular because of the migration to the south-east of the country) often remain in negative equity many years on. 

It's a salutary for property investors no matter which country they are in - you need to identify areas where there is little land for release and population booms can create housing shortages. And the south-east of Britain has this coming in spades.

The UK newspaper headlines have quickly reverted from "housing doldrums" to "housing in the south-east is unaffordable" seemingly almost overnight.

Full article here:

"The price of houses in the U.K. hit a record high in July, according to online real estate portal Rightmove, which doubled its forecast for 2013 prices and now expects them to rise by 4 percent, up from a previous estimate of 2 percent.
The average property asking price is now at £253,658 ($383,171), Rightmove said on Monday, up 0.3 percent since June and 4.8 percent higher than at the same time last year. In cash value prices have risen £11,561 in a year.
This marks a seventh consecutive monthly rise in the price of property coming to market, and the second successive national record, it said. Prices in the capital still show the biggest increase with London prices gaining 12 percent since July 2012."
"London will continue to outperform the rest of the country and we also expect the South East, the main beneficiary of the 'over-spill' from the capital, to maintain its strong momentum, both driven by an on-going shortage of supply of property for sale. Asking prices in the capital are currently 29 percent higher than they were five years ago compared with 7 percent in the South East and just 5 percent nationally".


Is Australia really like Japan?

Japan - the basket case

Another week, another article comparing Australia's property markets to Japan. If only I had a buck for every time people said "but in Japan"...then we'd definitely never experience price deflation Down Under because I would be a zillionaire and would be out spending like a certified madman.

There's no question that Australian property prices can and do fall, and indeed so they did in 2011 and early 2012. And they remain below previous peaks in all capital cities, except in Sydney which zooms on to fresh heights. I don't rate the neverending comparisons with Japan, though. 

It's actually the brutal effect that Japan's deflation had on its economy and living standards that leads nervous central banks such as the Fed in the US and the Bank on England in the old dart to drop interest rates to the effective bottom of the zero-bound range and engage in 'quantitative easing' (QE) - they must avoid deflation of the currency at all costs.

It's impossible to read the minds of our central bank Board, of course, but one assumes that they would err on the side of caution with regards to inflation and not make the mistakes which Japan made (namely, failing to create a sustained increase in the broad money supply, and tightening monetary policy again too soon when deflation was strangled, leading to its famous 'lost decade').

Incidentally, Japan finally seems to have learned its lessons and is engaging in so-called 'Abenomics' which promotes a range of policies include radical QE, the setting of negative interest rates and targeted inflation which has seen GDP growth return promisingly. Japanese Yen don't have a use-by date printed on them, but almost may as well have: check out how the stock market has responded (+56.5% on last year, despite the recent wobble).

Forget fundamentals, this is the new normal: booming asset valuations when the QE tap is turned on, and a panicked stampede for the exits at the merest hint of it being switched off again.

Source: Bloomberg

Ageing demographics

A large part of Japan's problem has been demographic, with its population ageing and more than a fifth of the population being aged over 65 - some 30 million 'older people'. Worse still, the population has been falling, which is never going to be a positive dynamic for economic growth.

Whether we like it or not, although Australia will face the ageing population problem and issues related to its dependency ratio, she will not allow her population to fall. Instead, our population is soaring, by 392,500 heads in the last 12 months recorded.

My Pommie pal Catherine Cashmore, who is always worth listening to (not just because she's English; rather because she is 'in the property market' every day and not only stuck behind a desk) argues in this article that while population growth might not cause property prices to grow in an upswing, it can sometimes hold prices up in a downturn.

Cashmore also explains why established dwellings in Australia's inner suburbs are frequently favoured by homebuyers and investors to new housing stock in the outer and fringe locations, and, importantly, that while the supply and demand of dwellings have an impact on prices, perhaps the supply of and demand for credit have a greater bearing.

Why deflation will be avoided at all costs

It's all too common for people to criticise our inflationary economy, but maybe it's worth re-capping on why deflation should and will be countered at all costs.

In theory, you might think that price deflation could be a good thing. We could go down to the servo and find that instead of being charged an extortionate 100 bucks fill up the Holden Thunder ute and acquire a four 'n' twenty pie with a pack of Lamington fingers (for this is how most Australians live, of course), it might only cost us $80 and we'd be effectively richer as a result. Cool.

Rewind the clock, though, to the Great Depression, where price deflation was accompanied with falling prices (including real estate prices), banks collapsing, countless companies going bust, astronomical levels of unemployment and the most brutal period of the 20th century across the globe. Just like the more recent global financial crisis, the Great Depression was preceded by debt-funded greed and speculation, and the Dow Jones index increasing by a preposterous fivefold in just six years.

When prices fall, those who hold debt are punished, and this is particularly so in the housing market. You could buy a house with a $500,000 mortgage today only to discover that the underlying asset is only worth $400,000 next year, leading to what is known euphemistically as being in 'negative equity' (i.e. up the creek, minus paddle).

It's fairly common today for people to say that anyone with mortgage debt has got it coming to them, and they'd deserve all they get. That may be so, but the real problem with a deflationary economy is the potentially relentless downward spiral.

The deflationary spiral

If you think you can buy the Lamingtons and the four 'n' twenty next week for fewer dollars than this week, you'd likely become discinclined to spend, and this leads to consumers hoarding cash. Retail trade dries up and Caltex probably have to drop their prices further to entice you back to the servo.

This becomes a total nightmare for Caltex because they still have to pay the pump attendant a $40,000 salary, but their turnover and margins are getting clobbered. They probably have to lay off one of the pump attendants.

Of course, with no job, the ex-pump attendant won't be borrowing money to buy a house, so the amount of money in the economy falls. It's the exact opposite of inflation where too much money is chasing too few goods pushing up prices.

The real risk in this circumstance is accelerating deflation (which is what Professor Steven Keen erroneously predicted would happen to house prices in the latter half of 2012; instead they increased strongly, largely due to investors returning to the market in anticipation of further price gains).

The best case outcome for the Australian housing market (in my humble opinion, at least - renters always disagree) is that prices continue to increase, but only moderately and at a lower level than the growth in wages, thereby effectively becoming cheaper over time. Unfortunately, price movement is rarely so uniform.

High inflation also brings its own uncertainties and can lead to boom-bust cycles, which is why we have a target range of inflation of 2-3%.

What if Australia stumbles towards recession?

Three things would happen. Firstly, interest rates would be dropped. Unfortunately interest rates in Australia can only drop so far until they hit a number starting with a '0', so if that doesn't work, the 'printing presses' will be switched on (QE), which actually means that the RBA will start buying assets (e.g. bonds), effectively increasing the money supply.

And thirdly, specifically with regards to the property markets, if prices began to slide dramatically, there would likely be other interference, such as, for example, relaxing the rules on foreign buyers, or other meddling. Non-property owners don't like it being said, but that's what, in my opinion, would probably happen.

It's easy for pundits to be critical the RBA's policy of targeted inflation, but, much like when we complain about getting older, it sure as heck beats the alternative.