National Crane Index: Still Raining Cranes in Australia Despite Housing Bust

Mike Mish Shedlock

Australia's "crane index" hit a new record high. Expect a major home builder bust along with an accompanying recession.

Still Raining Cranes

Despite the housing bust and a declining number of cranes in Sydney, It's Still Raining Cranes in Australia.

> Construction cranes have become a permanent feature of the urban landscape as developers compete to build more apartment and office towers and governments play catch-up with infrastructure. The latest edition of the RLB Crane Index shows that crane numbers in Australia have hit an all-time high of 735, up from 684 at the last count.

> Sydney retains its mantle as crane capital of Australia, but has recorded a net loss of 21 cranes — by far the biggest drop in the survey. Other urban centers are taking up the slack, including the Central Coast, just north of Sydney, which saw a net gain of 15 cranes.

> But the biggest mover was Melbourne. With the Victorian capital on track to become Australia's most populous city by 2030, the city recorded a net gain of 35 cranes.

Moral of the Story

Looking for a moral to this story?

I just happen have one: Home builders build until they go bust. It's what they do.

It happened in the US in 2007 and it's happening in Australia today.

The national builders may survive but regional and small leveraged builders get wiped out every cycle.

Bust Will Be a Doozie

  1. For a discussion of Canada please see Home Affordability: Canada vs. US
  2. Also note 50 Million Empty Homes In China, Third-Home Purchases Soar
  3. Zero Hedge comments Australian Home Prices Could Collapse 30%: UBS

I believe UBS comments understate the problem.

Expect lots of doozies. You won't be disappointed.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (9)
No. 1-6

Hi Mish. Since you are so positive about the coming housing busts, you must have investment advice to take advantage of the situation. Are you shorting crane companies, construction firms etc? How can one make some money from the coming crash?

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock


I do not know a damn thing about shorting cranes in Australia! My advice would simply be to get the hell out of the Australian market. Same for US. Get out.


Nothing to worry about Mish. Jerome Powell and company are all over it. After all, he just told us we have the best and brightest PhD's throughout those 12 member banks working on that whole financial stability thing...


Meh,,,two steps forward, one step back. That’s real estate. I remember back in the 70’s when house prices in Silicon Valley hit $50k, and everybody and his dog was yelling “sell. “

Seems to me, one might be better advised to get the hell out of the dollar, not tangibles. At least over the long haul.


It takes longer to plan and build commercial property so the housing bust is more or less the canary in the coal mine foretelling of problems to come!


It's crane madness here in the midwest as well, many knew higher interest rates were coming and locked in on all kinds of building projects (which is no big deal if you spread the risk via multi-investors) and with higher rates rentals will come back par with buying, big investors will scoop up any foreclosure homes (on the cheap of course), rent them as has been the trend, and/or flip when time is right. One example is the condoplex I live in, it was all new condo's going up as the last recession occurred, the money was already there, so the remaining condo's to be built were just built up as rentals, (as condo prices had crashed), just like the condo's I'm living in now were converted from rentals into condo's back in the mid 90's. We also need to look at how much of those cranes are rented out to government building projects, and/or also corporate buildups.

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