All care and no responsibility does not an effective lecture make
Boy oh boy, did Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's speech at yesterday's Australian Business Council breakfast give business journalists something to write about. He called on Australian businesses to commit less to dividends and more to investing in productivity - and in so doing, has copped a pasting.
While the RBA's Dr Lowe has resumed his calls this week for the government to step up with more stimulus measures - which the government is reluctant to do - Mr Frydenberg has asked the Australian business community to throw caution to the wind in the face of local and global economic uncertainty. But with no skin in the corporate game, Mr Frydenberg has painted a target on his back, with the business community countering that government is as much the problem as it is the potential solution to corporate reluctance to stick its collective necks out.
Meanwhile, we have a passel of economists expressing their belief that we've got a good five years of record-low interest rates ahead of us. This is excellent news for anyone who is able to jump through the growing number of hoops required to actually secure a home loan.
(Hopefully this situation will do something to alleviate mortgage stress among older Australians. This research shows that mortgage debt among 55 to 64 year olds is becoming a major issue...it's worsened as the cost of housing has risen much faster than the value of wages.)
The short-term opportunity for aspiring home owners and builders in Sydney and Melbourne, where prices are starting to climb, is that Domain reckons we've got another six months before rising prices hit the outer suburbs. If your job involves making a case for why now is a good time to buy greenfield land, for example, this could be a handy factoid to keep in your back pocket.
If instead, you're in the business of selling apartments, take a look at this story out of today's Fin. It includes anecdotes from a real estate agent selling units on Sydney's north shore about how for the first time, prospective buyers are asking about defects and cladding.
Simonds Group kicking goals in a tough resi build sector
Reporting season: an excellent gauge of how industry sectors are faring based on the performance of its biggest players. Boral, McGrath Real Estate and the accident-prone property valuer LMW (previously LandMark White) have all reported a rough trot in the past 24 hours.
If you're in the home building game though, you should spend some time looking at Melbourne's Simonds Group. It has doubled revenue and profit in the past financial year, with a big increase in site starts and a shift to more profitable two-storey dwellings.
Granted, Simonds isn't a big operator - but there are surely lessons to be learned here for other players in the space.