Property warning signs? You bet!

Property involves real people buying real assets. So why are we treating it like a sport?

For many years I have shrugged off predictions of the ‘Australian Property Bubble's' eventual pop, but it's hard to ignore the latest warning sign: the buying and selling of residential real estate is now being treated less like a financial transaction and more like a competitive sport.

Media networks have been broadcasting auctions from around Australia live on television (see below) as well as streaming it through social media (where viewers can comment in a mixture of excitement and emojis as the price rises ever higher).

Also, articles masquerading as blow-by-blow match reports on real estate sites such as Fairfax (ASX:FXJ) owned Domain turn the auction into a gladiatorial bloodsport.

Barely a week goes by without the latest hero — being he/she who has managed to build the highest valued property portfolio (usually with a lot of debt) in the quickest time — being lauded in the press complete with inspirational ‘you can do it too' message (see here and here).

Cementing the standing of real estate as Australia's latest obsession are the bookies. Tabcorp's (ASX:TAH) online bookmaking site Luxbet is (or at least it was as late as Monday, it appears to have shut the market down now) offering punters the chance to place bets on which capital city will see house prices rise/fall by the largest amount. Too confusing, well just take the over/under bet on capital city median house prices.

What's even more telling is that Luxbet didn't add these markets into its ‘Financial Category' where you can also bet on interest rate movements (something obviously important in property) but in the ‘Novelty' category along with markets such as ‘who will be the next James Bond' and ‘What will Warnie do in 2017'.

Whenever you lump the antics of Shane Warne into the same category as the real estate market you know things have gone haywire.


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