The SMH has the news that Malcom Turnbull has managed to interest Wizard Home Loans in the idea of home equity loans. I was a member of the academic panel of the PMs Task Force, organised by Turnbull looking into this idea. Most of the actual work was done by Christopher Joye, a livewire young economist who’s currently with the Menzies Institute.
The home equity proposal has been widely criticised as likely to further inflate the housing bubble. This is only true if financial institutions are willing to buy equity at inflated prices, as opposed to lending to individuals.I commented on all this in my most recent opinion piece in the Fin, which I have now posted on the Website. An excerpt
The home equity proposal put forward by the Taskforce may also be seen as a kind of insurance [against falling house prices]. Instead of paying a cash premium, homebuyers would forgo part of any possible gains in return for sharing the risk of declining prices with an equity partner. Once again the willingness, or otherwise, of banks to enter such deals may be seen as a financial market judgement about the sustainability of current prices.
It now appears that Turnbull is going to put his money where his mouth is on this one.
Also on the website is a piece on road safety from 5 June much of which I roadtested here on the blog before taking it out for a spin in print. Thanks again to everyone who commented.
Update The SMH story has caused a bit of a fuss about whether it is (or would be) appropriate to use the results of publicly-sponsored research in this way. I don’t see a problem myself. In any case, I got the following email from Malcolm Turnbull indicating that the issue may be moot
The SMH story is quite a beat up I am afraid. The position is that Wizard is keen to investigate whether a commercial product can be developed which implements some of the ideas in the MRC paper. I have not offered to finance Wizard products nor, as the story stated, am I negotiating to do so.