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It’s official –well, sort of – the house price boom just went pop!

UBS is a big wheel in global banking.  So when it calls an end of Australia’s world record housing boom, saying the golden years are ‘‘ officially’, the big money columnists all listen.

In Sydney, home prices fell 0.6 per cent over the past quarter and were down 0.5 per cent over the month. Darwin and Perth were also down, 4.4 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively.

The change is profound. It ends 55 years of growth that has seen home values soar by more than 6500 per cent, the UBS economists wrote in a note to clients.

According to UBS, the recent weakness in auction clearance rates and anaemic price growth over the past five months suggested ‘‘ the cooling may be happening a bit more quickly than even we expected’’ , economists George Tharenou and Carlos Cacho wrote in their note, downgrading their growth forecast for 2017 to just 5 per cent.

But here before you pop the corks, Sydney home prices are up 74 per cent since the latest growth cycle began in early 2012.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, it’s now more lucrative to invest in the share market than property.

CommSec chief economist Craig James says total returns on shares rose by 15.5 per cent in the year to October, while total returns on capital city homes rose by 10.7 per cent.

How much are you worth?
The Australian Council of Trade Unions has launched a campaign to introduce a living wage set at 60 per cent of median wages.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus said 3 million Australians are below the poverty line. The unions say Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that the cost of living is getting more expensive and wages are not keeping up.

  • Electricity has increased 539 per cent
  • Gas prices have increased 356 per cent faster
  • childcare is up 161 per cent
  • Utilities 394 per cent
  • Health 117 per cent
  • Housing 83 per cent
  • Education 74 per cent
  • Transport 50 per cent

Fairfax columnist Jessica Irvine wrote: “A rough calculation suggests an $80 a week increase would get the minimum wage of $694.90 to 60 per cent of median earnings.

That would be a significant gain on this year’s minimum wage increase of $22.20 a week, and would represent about a 12 per cent rise.”

End of the Credit Card

Our report on the best credit cards coincides with a prediction – from Citibank no less – that fantastic plastic may be in the terminal ward.

Michael Corbat, chief executive of Citigroup, is the world’s biggest issuer of credit cards.

“We know at some point cards are going to go away.  And it’s just going to be digital wallets and digital payments,” he told The Australian Financial Review.