In February 1988, I joined the The Australian Financial Review as a young property writer. The cities were full of cranes building office towers underpinned by the seemingly inexorable growth of financial deregulation and the supposedly inexhaustible finance from the Japanese miracle. In the suburbs, house prices were about to rocket as the Reserve Bank of Australia cut rates in the wake of 1987 share price crash.
This week I left The AFR after near 29 years with a ringside seat of Australian property. In those years the cities have been remade, 4.5 million new homes have been built; property investment has surged; commercial property has busted twice, and housing has been through three cycles of surge and pause.