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House Hunting

I have never been a real estate person – I have always found the process of buying a home to be time consuming, stressful and to be honest friggen primitive. There is all that paperwork, talking to banks, dealing with land rats and then you have to wait for several months before you actually get to move in. Why cant it be more like stock trading – push a button and then done. Which is why when I hear of locals buying property in the US I immediately think they must be mental.

According to this graphic Australians make up the third largest group of house hunters in the US.

I have to admit I look upon such things with the mobid fascination of someone who has just watched a train wreck not because I have any great insight into the American housing market. Although knowing the areas people are buying in the expression urban blight comes to mind. Rather that these people particularly those who began buying two years or so ago have taken a fearful reaming. Not because of any further collapse in the US housing market but rather because they forgot about the currency risk. The value of their investment has effectively dropped by some 40% without any change in the underlying housing market. Thats the cool thing about property spruikers they are too stupid to understand the risks involved in what they are getting people to do.

All foreign transactions carry with them a currency risk – by definition you are making a currency trade. Your implicit view is either that the currency will stay stable or fall. Any other outcome is a real problem.



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