Showing posts with label housing-price. Show all posts
Showing posts with label housing-price. Show all posts

Nov 22, 2010

What's that, an actuary? Kamikaze Investors

'Housing' is probably one of the most complex assets and also one of the most interesting.

Wake up...
At the next birthday party when somebody asks you the regular line: 'What's that, an actuary?....'  Don't answer the obligatory way, but demonstrate your actuarial risk management abilities in an interactive way....

Just ask who of your birthday friends would call himself a private - non professional - risky investor?........

After some hesitation and discussion, probably all of them will answer something like:  'No, I would not dare to risk much money, I put most of my savings in a 'safe - as possible - bank account'.

Than, your next question is: "Who owns a house?"
Now, probably more than 60% of your friends will raise their finger......

Congratulations! Now you may congratulate this 60% of your friends with the fact that they are probably a more risk taking investor than an average pension fund, because they are most likely (by far) overfunded  in the asset category "Housing".

After grasping the point of your little quiz, most of your friends will first laugh, than think, and after a while some of them will ask you what they should do about being a Kamikaze-investor?

Now you get to the tricky part of being an actuary:

  1. Never tell anyone what to do, 
  2. Just show them the possible scenarios
  3. Point out and quantify the risks, and 
  4. Help them take their own decisions 

 A lot of research has been done around House pricing and risk.

Although their seems to be a positive relationship between interest rate and housing-price growth, the housing risk is much more complicated than that.

Also housing prices differ strongly by country, as the next Economist table shows:

And because as actuaries, we're little Kamikaze-investors as well, the Economist has developed an interactive application to get sight at the housing-price development in your country relative to others.