Where the coming housing crunch will be most painful

A housing crash sent the global economy into recession between 2007 and 2009. But three countries—Australia, Canada and Sweden—cruised through the commotion. Even as property prices plummeted elsewhere, all three recorded double-digit growth. Some of this was good fortune. A commodities boom propped up the economies of Australia and Canada, for instance. But smart policy helped. Each country was held up as a shining example to other crisis-stricken places, their officials effusively praised. Mark Carney, then Canada’s central-bank governor, was dubbed by one British newspaper as the “biggest babe in banking”.

Across the rich world, house prices are now starting to fall after years of vertiginous growth. And it is overheated markets, like those in Australia, Canada and Sweden, that are facing some of the sharpest drops. A mortgage binge fuelled by rock-bottom interest rates has left each country with enormous quantities of household debt. As a share of disposable income,…

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This article was written by and originally published on www.economist.com