donderdag 29 april 2010

Affordability of Belgian Real-estate

What is going on here... ??? I'm trying to grasp why the Belgian real-estate market has been evolving soo differently compared to surrounding countries, but it really beats me...
I heard that Belgian prices kept rising because of a number of reasons like black money being repatriated from Luxemburg and that our housing market had to catch up, but by looking at a rather long timeperiod (nearly 20 years), I'd expect a price evolution much more in line with the trend.

  • The above graph can be accessed here.
  • The source of the Belgian data is Stadim. I asked them for a rationale, but without response till now.
  • I also wonder why Belgium is the only country without data for 2009.
  • Germany, Ireland, Denmark and Switzerland were not selected above because it would reduce the time window due to lacking data (Belgian is still on top even with those countries in).
  • The infamous US housing 'bubble' since 2004 looks soo minor from this perspective that I start to question the data this is based on.
  • Other arguments that are sometimes used to explain an exploding house price / income index for Belgium are also inadequate for me: The lower average mortgage rate applies to all the above OECD countries, just like the increase in mortgage length.

donderdag 22 april 2010

Krijgt legaal downloaden de bovenhand?

iTunes is gestaag bezig om Limewire en BitTorrent achter zich te laten... Of is er sindsdien een andere p2p player aan het domineren?

vrijdag 16 april 2010

The Economist: Too Bullish

It's soo easy to distort information!
I realized that after reading this Economist article on the potential Chinese Real-estate bubble.

I found it especially disturbing after comparing it to data by Andy Xie (taken over by Time here) that showed the exact opposite: House Price / income ratio in Shanghai is 20, the highest ratio in the US is 8.2 (Honolulu).
That's like paying 1 million Eur for an average house or appartment if you have an income of 50K Eur!!!

I used to value the Economist a lot, exactly because their data tends to be soo relevant and insightful! But gradually I start to think that they write too Bullish, too pro-free-trade and anti-regulation without any nuance. To a certain extend, I'm of course pro free market and anti-regulation as well, but they go to far! For a newspaper with their reach it's troubling!

Also, it's time to stop making average statements on China, it's simply too huge and diverse to capture in a country-wide average (the same goes for India by the way). The Nine Nations of China framework suggested by Patrick Chovanec, professor at Tsinghua University's School of Economics and Management in Beijing, is quite helpful to grasp the Chinese diversity a bit better. You find it here, with later blogposts on each of the 9 nations separately.

Duitse Buitenlandse Handel

Op zoek naar details over de Duitse Foreign Trade na dit artikel over Olli Rehn kwam ik via via hier terecht:
mooi staaltje van Deutsche Grundlichkeit: heel sprekende interactieve graphics

Straf dat de Duitse export naar Belgie in 2009 nog steeds hoger was dan die naar China !

donderdag 15 april 2010