The oceans of global liquidity are making their way to the usual places.
The World Bank warned Tuesday that the sudden reappearance of billions of dollars in investment capital in East Asia is "raising concerns about asset price bubbles" in equity markets across Asia and in real estate in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam. Also Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund cited "a risk" that surging Hong Kong asset prices are being driven by a flood of capital "divorced from fundamental forces of supply and demand." ...
"This is the beginning of another big and excessive run-up in asset prices," said Simon Johnson, a former IMF chief economist.
The symptoms of a frenzy are most evident in Asia and the Pacific, where economies are recovering most quickly. In Hong Kong, high-end real-estate prices are soaring. A luxury flat in the tony Midlevels district is expected to sell for US$55.6 million, or $9,200 a square foot, said developer Henderson Land Development Co. Elsewhere, a bidder at a city-run auction to operate food stands at February's Lunar New Year celebration recently paid a record US$63,225 for the right to occupy a 400-square-foot stall to sell fish balls and other snacks. Prices in the auction of 180 stalls were up 33% from 2008.
Over the summer, a Singapore condominium developer raised prices 5% the day before units went on sale. After dozens of would-be buyers lined up on a steamy night, the developer -- a joint venture of Hong Leong Group and Japan's Mitsui Fudosan -- held a lottery for a chance to bid on the units. Singapore home prices rose 15.8% in the third quarter, the fastest rate in 28 years.
Australian real-estate markets also have heated up. After a Melbourne property-research firm recently predicted that average home prices will double over the next 12 years, a news report in Australia's Herald Sun said: "The staggering prediction shows the importance of buying a home as soon as you can afford it because the longer buyers delay, the more chance there is that their dream will slip out of their reach."
It is like a bad movie that we have seen all before.
In the meantime, I am under contract to buy a piece of land, which I will expound upon in the coming weeks. One might as well take advantage of the world's policymakers' attempts to reflate the global economy and asset prices.