Consumer behavior has indelibly changed

From David Uren at The Australian:

A research study by Commonwealth chief economist Michael Blythe, which draws on surveys of the bank’s customers, backs the Reserve Bank’s view that elevated housing debt is not an imminent threat to financial stability, with the largest debts held by those best able to afford them. But Blythe shows the build-up of debt is having a significant effect on consumer behaviour, which has responded to the growth in housing wealth very differently from the housing boom in the first half of the 2000s.

…The boom has greatly increased household wealth — ABS estimates show the value of the housing stock has risen by $2 trillion over the past 4½ years. Blythe says that traditionally, households spend about 4c out of every dollar of additional wealth, however this has not occurred during the boom. Instead, households have been making net equity injections into their housing, while consumer lending indicators show no appetite to tap into accumulated wealth.

The difference in consumer behavior after the DotCom bubble and the 2008 Financial Crisis is marked. When the bubble burst in 2001 the economy went into a recession. Before long investors found another asset, real estate, that promised them effortless wealth — just add debt. The ensuing 2008 crash, on the other hand, was not a normal recession. Labeling it the Great Recession is putting lipstick on the pig. The proper name for it is a Banking Panic, as in 1907 and 1930, when the banking system threatened to implode. Faith in the entire financial system was rocked and is likely to change consumer and investor behavior for a generation. Not just a 5-year cycle.

Hat tip to Macrobusiness.

We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it — and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again — and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore. ~ Samuel Clemens as Mark Twain