More pieces of puzzle in place for property recovery

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Good news is like a really special novelty mobile phone ring tone. You love it so much you almost hope you’ll get a call. It’s refreshing and it makes you feel good. Sadly, some people just don’t like what they hear no matter what the tune is.

Every now and then, for no apparent reason, some of us are glass-half-empty people. We can’t see the good side of things no matter how much others try to reassure us. And sometimes, we’re just downright bitchy.

Years ago, I was on my way to meet a friend for lunch. It was a beautiful day and I was in a fantastic mood. I hopped on a bus to the city, a spring in my step, and took a seat near the back.

While we slowly made our way into the city, my mobile phone rang. The theme song to Beverly Hills: 90210 chimed loudly throughout the bus. A sad-looking woman in her mid-30s, seated a few rows up, slowly turned and narrowed her eyes at me. She shook her head with clear disgust and let out a pointed “No. Just no” before turning back again.

Ouch. It stung. There I was, chipper about life, when unqualified judgment hit me like a pile of bricks. Her bitterness bothered me for the rest of the day. It shouldn’t have – her ringtone was probably All By Myself or something.

Some people are just a bit cynical like that… especially when it comes to property. Peruse almost any real estate-related internet forum and you’re likely to find a thriving group of grumpy doomsayers who’ll shoot down any hint of optimism. Even mention signs of positivity you’ve noticed and a legion of whingers will emerge from the darkness of cyber space with barbed criticism and holier-than-thou assertions about your clear stupidity.

Until recently, a similar tone has been weaved through a lot of media commentary.  All that pessimism aside, more and more pieces of the property puzzle are finally falling into place. It’s almost a bit like the week or two before Christmas.

There’s something on the horizon… something good. The fiscal stars seem to be aligning to give property its best chance yet of a recovery. You can just feel it. So much so, I’ve changed my ringtone to I Got A Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas.

At the last meeting of the Reserve Bank of Australia, there must’ve been an air of excitement in the room. The official minutes, released this week, show an almost gleeful discussion about economic indicators here and abroad. Well, about as gleeful as a bunch of important economist types get.

China’s economy is stabilising, they were told. There are signs that things here at home are picking up in segments of the economy not related to mining. The outlook for global growth even looks promising.

Business confidence seems to be bouncing back, albeit modestly, and consumers are increasingly willing to part with their cash at the shops. At the same time, inflation remains low.

I’ve been reading these minutes every month and there’s a definite trend emerging. We seem to be getting back on track.

Two of the biggest factors affecting property market growth in recent times have been confidence and economic stability. There have been consecutive levels of improvement to both those recently, which has got to make you feel a bit better about things. If the market were a giant puzzle, we’d have all the edges in place and a big chunk of that centre starting to take shape.

Of course, Europe is one of the final puzzle pieces still missing. If anyone finds it under their couch, be sure to let the rest of us know.

Shannon Molloy is the deputy editor of Australian Property Investor magazine