Let's not overlook the joy of owning property amid all the doom

Let's not overlook the joy of owning property amid all the doom
Let's not overlook the joy of owning property amid all the doom

The year had so much negative, even scary commentary, that you'd be left wondering whether purchasing or owning a home actually comes with any joy.

Hopefully home ownership gives you and your family a sense of stability and security, despite the daily noise of the commentariat.

Around 67 per cent of Australians own their own home, either outright or with the help of a mortgage. 

Beyond pride of ownership, there are many other intrinsic benefits. The reasons for our ownership pursuit don't need to be too sophisticated.

It may simply mean you can paint the walls any color you desire, or build up, have a garden through the seasons, own pets or just enjoy the familiarity of where you can lay your head on the pillow every night. 

Ofcourse real estate prices move in cycles, sometimes up, sometimes down, and sometimes not going anywhere.

Over the decades real estate values have tended to appreciate substantially.

Sydney house values might be down nine percent this year, but it comes after values rose 75 percent after the boom kicked off in 2012.

Stock market shares have been something of a rollercoaster ride again this year, with the All Ordinaries index down from 6167 to 5,856. It was 6500 in 2007. For many confidence in the share market has never been the same since shorting stock became a dominant force. 

And unlike investing in the share market, you manage most of the property outcomes.

Imagine sleeping sound at night if say you'd invested in bitcoin. Not only because its value has more than halved during 2018, but also because cyber criminals are secretly mining Bitcoin on any computer infected with malware.

Property is very much about making an investment in the future, keeping the wolves from the door in old age.

Becoming a homeowner comes with responsibilities, but a lot of rewards that trigger the overwhelming pursuit of home ownership over renting.

Experts in happiness have concluded people are happier these days when they spend money on experiences rather than material goods.

But two US professors published the 2013 book, Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, which noted 90 percent of Americans link home ownership to living the American dream.

Australia is not that different, although the dream has been changing incrementally from suburbia with the backyard to the high-rise lifestyle.

Ofcourse home ownership means you can always bolt the front door, and not take in any of the incessant commentary. 

This year our own Dr Doom quietly lost another bet. The now UK-based Professor Steve Keen owes Sydney economic commentator Peter Switzer a meal at the expensive London restaurant, Hakkasan as in 2016 he predicted Australia would be in recession within two years. 

Switzer challenged him to a bet with Keen gingerly accepting because he was stung by a very famous bet in 2008 with then Macquarie economist, Rory Robertson, who disputed Keen’s catastrophic prediction for house prices. Keen ending up walking from Canberra to Mt. Kosciuszko with a T-shirt that said “I was hopelessly wrong on house prices — ask me how.”

Just imagine you'd accepted Keen's 2008 warning and missed out on the property boom. Keen pocketed $540,000 for his Fishermans Bend Urban Renewal Area in 2008, with it last sold at $650,000 just as the boom was taking off in 2012. Despite the recent downturn, it's possibly worth well over $1 million.

This article was first published in the Saturday Telegraph.




Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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