Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Greek House Prices (plus Marc Faber does a driveby)

When I saw this chart the first thing I thought of was Argentina.
Some years ago Marc Faber wrote:
“When I visited Argentina in 1988, I was truly amazed: total market capitalization was only around US$750 million and daily volume on the Buenos Aires stock exchange averaged less than US$ 1 million. A high quality baby-feed steak cost US$5, a luxury apartment US$70,000 and an entire office block in a prime location US$1million! That was when inflation stood at about 600% per annum. But what was the situation a few years later, in 1994, when Argentina 's inflation had been curbed to less than 10%? Everything had become dear and Buenos Aires was once again as it had been in the 70s- one of the world's most expensive cities."
Greek homes have a lot further to fall but this is something to keep an eye on.

Here's another of the blogs we read and don't link to often enough.
From the Early Warning blog:

I found the above data for the Greek house prices at the Bank of Greece.  It's an index for all urban areas with 1997 set to 100.  I don't believe it's inflation adjusted.  The data are annual through 2011 but I also put in the estimate for Q1 2012.

There seem to be several interesting points:
  • Greek house prices tripled in only 15 years.
  • They have so far fallen about 20% (nominal) from the peak - closer to 30% in real terms.
  • The decline accelerated in 2012.  Given that the country shows no sign of political and economic stabilization, it's likely they'll fall quite a bit more.