New Zealand 16-14 England

New Zealand came out victorious in an exhilarating encounter to reach the Four Nations final and leave England on the brink of elimination.

The Kiwis went ahead with their first attack through Jason Nightingale, but England hit back from Ryan Hall who finished off a superb England move.

Josh Charnley gave England the lead before Nightingale added his second.

Manu Vatuvei extended the host’s lead in the second half, and although Hall scored again, it was not enough.

Having suffered two consecutive defeats against

Australia

and

New Zealand,

Steve McNamara’s side’s chance of reaching the final in Wellington next week is now out of their hands, needing Samoa to beat Australia by fewer than eight points on Sunday if they are to progress.

An Australia win would see them go out, as would a Samoa win by more than eight points, but if Samoa win by exactly eight points, then it would go down to tries scored; England currently have 10,

while Samoa have eight.

The permutations would have been made easier if England had won, but for the second week running, they narrowly lost a match they were in command of.

The visitors had chances through Hall, who dropped the ball while close to the try line early in the second half and Gareth Widdop who twice hit the post from try conversions.

Playing an exciting, expansive brand of rugby in Dunedin, they failed to make their opportunities pay, coming up against a determined and resolute New Zealand defence.

England made the worst start possible in a repeat of

last year’s World Cup semi-final,

going behind within the first two minutes. New Zealand danger man Shaun Johnson – the last-minute try scorer in the previous meeting between the teams – lofted a high kick towards the England try line which Nightingale rose to collect for the first try.

They were not behind for long though, getting on the scoresheet on the next attack. Having been kept out on the right flank, England moved the ball with quick hands to the left and Hall touched down in the corner from Dan Sarginson’s pass.

From that moment, England were exerting severe pressure on the New Zealand try line and it paid dividends as Charnley outpaced winger Vatuvei on the outside for the score.

However, for all of England’s control, they could only muster eight points and New Zealand kept their composure to go up-field as Nightingale added his second of the game for a half-time lead.

England almost made the perfect start to the second half, but Hall was unable to touch down, and they were punished as Vatuvei powered over after hesitant defending from Kallum Watkins.

Leeds winger Hall made up for his earlier error by going over in the corner to reduce the deficit to two points. But despite a late flurry, England were unable to break through, leaving them on the verge of an exit from the competition.

England team:

S Tomkins (New Zealand Warriors); J Charnley (Wigan), K Watkins (Leeds), D Sarginson (Wigan), R Hall (Leeds); G Widdop (St George Illawarra), M Smith (Wigan); G Burgess (South Sydney), D Clark (Castleford), J Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), L Farrell (Wigan), J Tomkins (Wigan), S O’Loughlin (Wigan, capt).
Replacements:

Elliot Whitehead (Catalans Dragons), B Ferres (Huddersfield), T Burgess (South Sydney), C Hill (Warrington).

New Zealand team:

P Hiku (Manly), J Nightingale (St George Illawarra), S Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters), D Whare (Penrith), M Vatuvei (New Zealand Warriors); K Foran (Manly), S Johnson (New Zealand Warriors); J Bromwich (Melbourne), I Luke (South Sydney), A Blair (Wests Tigers), S Mannering (New Zealand Warriors, capt), K Proctor (Melbourne), J Taumalolo (North Queensland).
Replacements:

T Leuluai (New Zealand Warriors), G Eastwood (Canterbury Bulldogs), M Taupau (Wests Tigers), T Harris (Melbourne).

New Zealand

New Zealand performed the traditional haka pre kick-off

Ryan Hall

Ryan Hall scored two, but missed a great opportunity to complete a hat-trick

Isaac Luke

Hooker Isaac Luke’s pace was kept in check well by the England defenders

New Zealand

Battered and bloodied, New Zealand reached the Four Nations final

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Rescued New Zealand pilot whales die



Volunteers helping a beached pilot whale

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Volunteers managed to refloat many of the whales on Wednesday

A pod of 22 pilot whales rescued from a stranding in New Zealand on Wednesday have died after beaching themselves for a second time.

About 60 whales in two pods had swum into Ohiwa harbour in the Bay of Plenty of Monday and stranded themselves, with 36 dying by Tuesday.

Conservationists had refloated the 22, but said 14 were found dead on Thursday and the rest were put to death.

The reasons for mass strandings are not fully understood.

Pilot whales are particularly prone to such behaviour. The largest known pilot whale stranding involved an estimated 1,000 whales at the Chatham Islands in 1918, according to the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Project Jonah, the wildlife group involved in the rescue, said on its Facebook page on Thursday that the discovery of the 22 whales in the Whakatane region of the bay was “a sad outcome after the successes of yesterday’s efforts”.

“Six whales had died overnight, upon arrival it was discovered a further six had died and within moments two more whales had passed,” it said.

“The remaining whales were showing physical signs of distress and the difficult decision was made to euthanise.”

Whale rescue 05 November, 2014Volunteers who have been trained as medics sprang into action on Wednesday

Whale rescue 05 November, 2014Those pilot whales still alive were guided through the harbour to the ocean

The organisation added that it was “worth remembering that any time the whales spend out of their natural environment is a highly stressful time for these beautiful animals”.

New Zealand on average has more whales stranding themselves than any other country in the world, Daren Grover, general manager of Project Jonah told the BBC on Wednesday.

“It’s something we have lived with and we are quite geared up to respond to,” he said.

Whale rescue 05 November, 2014The reasons for mass stranding are not well understood

Whale rescue 05 November, 2014Scientists think individual whales beach themselves when they are reaching the end of their life

Scientists believe individual whales strand themselves because they have a disease and are coming to the end of their life.

Another theory is that as one whale becomes stranded the other members of the highly sociable pods try to help and become stranded themselves.

Pilot whales are the largest member of the dolphin family. They get their name from the fact that researchers believe that each pod follows a “pilot” in the group.

Their distinguishing feature is a large bulbous forehead, which protrudes beyond the mouth and small beak.

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Australia rejects asylum offer claim

In this handout photo provided by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, facilities at the Manus Island Regional Processing Facility, used for the detention of asylum seekers that arrive by boat, primarily to Christmas Island off the Australian mainland, on 16 October 2012 on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. Activists say living conditions at the Manus Island detention centre, seen here in a 2012 photo, are poor

Australia has rejected claims that it offered to resettle asylum seekers in the country if they withdrew statements about a death at a detention facility.

Australian human rights lawyer Julian Burnside QC made the claim while accepting an award on Wednesday.

Iranian Reza Berati was killed in a riot at the Australian-run Manus Island centre in Papua New Guinea.

The policy of housing asylum seekers offshore – intended as a deterrent – has been criticised by rights groups.

Australia sends all asylum seekers arriving by boat to offshore camps in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific territory of Nauru for detention and processing.

Mr Burnside, a vocal critic of the government’s controversial immigration and detention policies, accepted the Sydney Peace Prize on Wednesday night.

At the ceremony, he said a confidential source had told him that asylum seekers who witnessed the death of Mr Berati would be settled in Australia if they withdrew their statements.

“My understanding is that some people in the Manus Island detention are being offered the opportunity of being taken to mainland Australia on condition they withdraw any witness statements they’ve made,” he said, according to media reports.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison rejected the claims.

“This is a false and offensive suggestion made without any basis or substantiation by advocates with proven form of political malice and opposition to the government’s successful border protection policies,” he said.

According to an official report, Mr Berati suffered a severe brain injury after being beaten during the riot in February.

The report said he was attacked by a mob of security guards and PNG local residents who had broken in to the Manus Island camp during a night of violence.

Two Papua New Guinea men have been charged with his murder.

Mr Burnside also claimed he had a sworn statement from an individual who witnessed Mr Berati’s death, alleging that a dozen employees beat and kicked Mr Berati.

The Iranian man was struck with a wooden plank and a rock, Mr Burnside said, citing the witness statement.

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Australia and asylum

  • Asylum-seekers – mainly from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iraq and Iran – travel to Australia’s Christmas Island on rickety boats from Indonesia
  • The number of boats rose sharply in 2012 and the beginning of 2013, and scores of people have died making the journey
  • Everyone who arrives is detained. They are processed in camps in Christmas Island, Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Those found to be refugees will be resettled in PNG, not Australia
  • The government is believed to be towing boats back to Indonesia. It has also returned asylum seekers intercepted at sea to Sri Lanka.
  • Rights groups and the UN have voiced serious concerns about the policies.

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Both the UN and NGOs have strongly criticised conditions in the asylum camps. Detainees on Christmas Island are currently suing the Australian government over allegedly inadequate medical care.

Australia has also towed asylum seeker boats – which mostly leave from Indonesia – back to international waters.

The Labor opposition has indicated it “might” continue the practice if it were to win the next election.

The government says its tough policies are aimed at ending the flow of boats, so that no more people die making the dangerous journey to Australia.

Only one asylum seeker boat has reached Australia during 2014, compared with the 401 which successfully reached shore in 2013, according to local media reports.

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Australia’s trade deficit doubles

Sydney HarbourAustralia’s imports rose more than its exports in September, leading its trade deficit to more than double.

Australia’s trade deficit more than doubled to A$2.26bn (£1.2b; $1.96bn) in September, data showed.

Exports rose just 1% in the month, while imports were up 6% as Australia brought in more fuel.

The deficit, a balance of goods and services, widened a lot more than market expectations of A$1.95bn and compared to a revised deficit of A$1.013bn in July.

Falling prices of key commodities like iron ore is being blamed for the jump.

“The trade deficit for September came in worse than expected with falling commodity prices clearly weighing on export values,” said AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver.

Export earnings in Australia, home to some of the world’s biggest miners like BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, have been impacted by the slump in prices.

The price of iron ore is down 40% this year, while thermal coal prices are hovering near five-year lows of A$63 a tonne on oversupply in the market and slower demand from China.

The two commodities are Australia’s top two exports.

Mixed economic view

Added to the ballooning trade deficit on Tuesday was revised employment data, which showed a weaker labour market.

New figures showed that 9,000 jobs were lost in August, compared to previous estimated rise of 32,100. But, the number of jobs lost in September was revised to 23,700, less than an initial estimate of 29,700.

The unemployment rate, however, was up to 6.2% in September from a previous estimate of 6.1%.

Mr Oliver of AMP said the economic data showed a mixed picture of the economy, which resulted in the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) leaving interest rates at a record low of 2.5% in its policy meeting today.

“Revised jobs data up to September now shows a slightly weaker jobs market over the last two months than previously reported with unemployment now drifting up,” he said.

On the upside, retail sales grew at the fastest pace in 19 months in September, boosted by consumers buying Apple’s new iPhones.

Sales rose 1.2% in September – the biggest gain since February 2013 – and above expectations of an only 0.4% increase.

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Australia ‘holds back’ climate fight

Worker unloading coal from railway in Shenyang, China, file photo from 2010Coal from Australia is supplying booming demand in countries such as China

Australia is a drag on international efforts to tackle climate change, says leading economist and former government adviser Professor Ross Garnaut.

Prof Garnaut said the country had failed to make its “fair share” of greenhouse gas cuts.

Earlier, Prime Minister Tony Abbott reiterated his position that coal was the foundation of global energy needs.

Australia has the world’s highest carbon emissions per capita and is its second biggest coal exporter.

Prof Garnaut, who teaches at the Australian National University, said progress made by the government’s Direct Action policy would be undone by emissions made by companies not covered by that policy.

Direct Action includes a A$2.5bn (£1.4bn; $2.2bn) fund that will be used to pay big polluters to cut emissions and use cleaner energy.

“It is a bit sad. We are a drag on the international efforts [to tackle climate change],” Prof Garnaut said in an interview on ABC TV.

“You could make the case [that] we were once doing our fair share, now we are not,” he said.

Fossil fuels warning

Prof Garnaut was appointed by the previous Labor government to examine the impact of climate change on the Australian economy.

He said it was clear before the last election that the main political parties supported Australia’s commitment to the United Nations to cut emissions unconditionally by 5% from 2000 levels by 2020 – and by a further between 15% and 25%, depending on the extent of international action.

He was reacting to comments by Mr Abbott made earlier in the day that coal was the foundation of Australia’s prosperity and would be so “for the foreseeable future”.

Mr Abbott said that if the world was serious about lifting the living standards of the poorest people, “we have to be serious about making the best use of coal”.

A UN-backed expert panel has warned that the unrestricted use of fossil fuels must be phased out by 2100 if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says most of the world’s electricity can – and must – be produced from low-carbon sources by 2050.

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VIDEO: Australia bushfire ‘out of control’

A bushfire burning out of control in Australia’s Blue Mountains has destroyed at least one house and threatens more, according to Australian media.

An emergency warning has been issued by the Rural Fire Service for residents to monitor the situation after strong winds fuelled the blaze.

Authorities have said there are up to 50 firefighters in the area being assisted by helicopters dropping water.

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VIDEO: Australia marks Anzac centenary

Thousands of people gathered in the Australian town of Albany to mark the departure of 30,000 Anzac troops 100 years ago during World War One.

The remote town in Western Australia was where many of the Anzac (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) soldiers set sail for Europe on 1 November 1914.

Phil Mercer reports from Sydney.

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Australia marks Anzac centenary

Members of Australia's armed forces lower their naval flag during events to mark the centenary of the Anzac departure for WW1 - 31 October 2014More than 800 members of Australia’s armed forces are taking part in the centenary events in Albany

Thousands of people gathered in the Australian town of Albany to mark the departure of 30,000 Anzac troops 100 years ago during World War One.

The remote town in Western Australia was where many of the Anzac (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) soldiers set sail for Europe on 1 November 1914.

The commemorations featured a re-enactment of the convoy’s departure.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key attended the events on Saturday.

Australia’s entry into World War One began with the departure of the soldiers on 38 troop ships, protected by Australian, New Zealand and Japanese battle cruisers and warships.

The Japanese Defense Ship Kirisame docked in Albany ahead of the Anzac centenary events - October 2014Japan, which helped protect Anzac troops in 1914, sent a warship to take part in the centenary events

Many were sent to fight in the disastrous Gallipoli campaign of 1915, during which thousands of lives were lost.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told those attending the service that the Anzac troops would never be forgotten. “The scale of sacrifice and loss was beyond anything imaginable,” he added.

Australia’s governor-general Peter Cosgrove said the soldiers would have been unaware of the horrors of World War One.

“There would have been excitement, trepidation”, he told the BBC. “I think there was also a sense of exhilaration because the rumour at the time was that this war would be over quite quickly.”

The military re-enactment on Albany’s King George Sound waters featured five Royal Australian Navy warships, two from New Zealand and one from Japan.

Chief of defence force air chief marshall Mark Binskin, AC and commanding officer HMNZS Te Kaha, commander Dave McEwan, RNZN, salute in Albany, Western Australia on 1 November 2014.Senior military officials attended Saturday’s commemoration service

About 800 soldiers took part in a march through Albany’s streets ahead of Mr Abbott’s commemorative address.

Colin Barnett, the premier of Western Australia, and Mr Key also gave speeches before wreaths were laid at Albany Peace Park.

It is estimated that over 60,000 people attended Saturday’s events. Amongst them were senior veterans, Maori and Japanese soldiers.

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Are you in Albany? Are you taking part in the commemorations? Send us your eyewitness accounts and views by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk

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Australia’s flexible small firms

The team at Filtered MediaNot everyone at Filtered Media was in the office on the day of the photo shoot…

It is often “Marilyn Monroe Day” at one small business in Sydney, Australia.

Staff at the firm in question – Filtered Media – really love the famous Hollywood actress.

But rather than sit around and watch her films, each of the 13 employees instead gets a fully paid extra day’s leave, a “Marilyn”, to celebrate their birthday.

Named in reference to the night in May 1962 when Monroe famously sang Happy Birthday to President John F Kennedy, the workers can take the day up to a week either side of their actual birthday.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

Mark Jones

It’s about results and trust, not location or hours”

End Quote
Mark Jones

For Filtered Media’s founders and bosses, husband and wife team Mark and Heather Jones, the unusual perk is all part of their efforts to offer their team a good work-life balance.

Staff also get two additional paid days off each year called “Yolo Days”. Yolo is short for “you only live once”, and workers are encouraged to take them spontaneously.

Yet rather than Filtered Media being a wacky anomaly, it is instead part of a growing trend among Australian small firms – particularly those based in offices – to allow their staff to work more flexibly.

‘Rise to expectations’

For Mark Jones, 40, it is all about making Filtered Media – which does public relations work for corporate clients – an enjoyable company to work for.

“Work is a place we spend a bulk of our lives, so it must be respectful and flexible,” he says.

A Filtered Media employee walking her dog on a beachA member of the Filtered Media team enjoying a “Yolo Day”

“The Yolo Days are not to be planned in advance, they are days when you wake up and just don’t feel like facing the world.

“Or a day when the sun is shining so brightly you must be out in it.”

Continue reading the main story

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I set up the business to have systems and processes designed for complete flexibility in terms of staff location”

End Quote
Frederic Chanut
Founder, In Marketing We Trust

Although Filtered Media’s staff members predominantly work in the office, they can choose to work elsewhere.

Mrs Jones, 39, explains: “It’s about results and trust, not location or hours. One senior manager works every Friday from home as part of her regular arrangements as her commute is quite lengthy.

“Others can work from home on agreement with their manager, so if they are working on a proposal, or writing and need focused time, or a child is sick, or just because.

“We find in life and business, people often rise to the expectations you have of them.”

Suiting lifestyles

It is a similar story at fellow Sydney small business In Marketing We Trust, which was founded by Frederic Chanut last year.

His digital marketing company now employs 10 members of staff, but only three of them regularly come into the office.

Frederic ChanutFrederic Chanut’s staff are nowhere to be seen…

“Most of my team work remotely, as it suits their lifestyle,” says Mr Chanut, 31.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

A lot of managers have trust issues – is that employee really working?”

End Quote
Yvette Blount
Flexible working expert

Currently he has staff working from home at places across New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and even abroad in Mexico City, and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

“I set up the business to have systems and processes designed for complete flexibility in terms of staff location,” he says.

“I do however try to keep everyone working for at least three hours together in the morning Sydney time. This ensures that any issue is resolved quickly, and also enables real-time communication.”

Trust issues

Given the sunny weather and easy access to the beach enjoyed by most Australians – 85% of the population live within 50km (30 miles) of the sea – it is perhaps unsurprising that having the option to work flexibly is popular in Australia.

Marilyn MonroeFiltered Media allows its staff to take a “Marilyn Monroe Day” in the fortnight around their birthdays

In fact, one in five Australians made a request to work flexible hours last year, according to a report by the Centre for Work and Life at the University of South Australia.

The study also says that staff who are able to work more flexibly are both happier and more productive.

However, Yvette Blount, an expert in flexible working at Macquarie University’s Faculty of Business and Economics, says that many firms – both large and small – remain suspicious.

“A lot of managers have trust issues,” she says. “Is that employee really working? Or are they sitting at the beach?

“Of course with the right manager and staff you get… the cost benefit of reduced office space, and even increased productivity, which is backed up by research.”

‘Matching interests’

For friends Fiona Anson and Alli Baker the realisation that more Australians wished to work flexibly was the inspiration behind setting up their company Workible last year.

Workible is a flexible job website designed to match workers with positions that fit around their lifestyles.

Fiona Anson (left) and Alli BakerThe bosses at Workible are helping people who wish to work flexibly find employment

Ms Anson, 55, says: “On more than one occasion we mused that if a dating site can match love interests, why can’t a job site match availability interests?”

Workible now has 30,000 users, and Ms Anson says numbers are growing strongly – rising by a quarter every month.

She and Ms Baker, who both used to work in marketing, have eight members of staff at their office in central Sydney.

“We knew we’d spotted the start of a wave that would see the way we work change dramatically,” adds Ms Anson.

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High Australian real estate prices lead to bubble fears

Sydney skylineDemand for real estate has outstripped supply in Sydney and Melbourne, leading to high prices

Real estate has long been an Australian obsession and sharp spikes in house prices across Australia’s major cities in recent years have fuelled the passion for property. But it is not easy working out who or what is to blame.

Fluctuating prices, and what triggers them, are studiously followed in a country where two-thirds of the population own their own home.

The most spectacular growth has been in the notoriously fevered Sydney market, which has grown 15% over the 2013-14 financial year, compared with a combined 10% across all the state capital cities, according to figures from property information firm RP Data.

The median house price in Sydney has now reached a jaw-dropping A$800,000 ($697,000, £440,000), many times the average wage.

Hardly surprising, therefore, that Australian house prices are among the least affordable in the economic bloc of more than 30 OECD countries, leaving a generation of renters with dwindling prospects of achieving the dream of home ownership.

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Prime International Residential Index – Square meters US$1m will buy

  • Monaco 15
  • Hong Kong 21
  • London 25
  • Singapore 33
  • Geneva 35
  • New York 40
  • Sydney 41
  • Paris 42
  • Moscow 43
  • Shanghai 46

Source: Knight Frank

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Clearly, the boom reflects market forces: demand has outstripped supply in Sydney and Melbourne but what is stimulating this ferocious appetite?

Is it moneybags investors looking to boost their retirement incomes, cashed-up buyers from China, low interest rates, preferential tax regimes or planning laws stifling development?

The truth is complicated, and what affects one city, or suburb, almost certainly will not apply to places and properties elsewhere.

Chinese demand

For example, while residential markets in Sydney and Melbourne performed well, sales this year in Perth have been subdued.

A view of the eight-bedroom, seven-bathroom house 'Altona' at the Sydney harbour-front on May 2, 2013. According to a report the Altona mansion was sold to a Chinese-born businessman for 54.3 million US dollars, setting a new property record for the cityChinese nationals have been investing in property in Australia

“The resources-based economy, which is largely affected by fluctuations in iron ore, gold and precious metal prices, is very slow. There has been a big reduction in employment opportunities in Western Australia and that has fallen back into the property market,” says David Airey, president of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.

On the other side of the continent, it is a very different story.

“Buying pressure in Sydney has come from overseas investors literally buying everything they can, particularly from Asia,” Mr Airey says. “Sydney prices look cheap to them. They look expensive to Australians but A$1m really doesn’t buy you very much.”

The impact of Chinese investment is the subject of on-going studies at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). Dr Adrian Lee, a postdoctoral research fellow at UTS Business School, says Chinese nationals are only allowed to buy new, not established properties in Australia. But he questions whether Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board “has adequately enforced the restrictions”.

Dr Lee believes the flow of money will increase.

“I think Australian property will continue to be favourable to China’s growing middle class as they perceive Australia as a great place to eventually live in for themselves and their families,” he says.

‘Fraught with danger’

Another culprit in climbing house prices is Australia’s so-called negative gearing, which offers a tax break to more than a million investors who make a loss on their property investments, says Dale Boccabella from the University of New South Wales, who describes negative gearing as a “defect in the system”.

Sold propertyThere are fears that excessive speculation is driving up prices

“No-one is going to be able to tell us the extent to which the continuing of negative gearing is putting pressure on house prices but it must be making some contribution,” says Mr Boccabella. “It is so entrenched. People have just latched onto it. It is part and parcel of the culture.”

With some of the world’s most expensive bricks and mortar, Australians are often warned the housing market is a bubble that will eventually burst.

In September, federal treasurer Joe Hockey rejected those grim projections as “lazy analysis”, adding that he didn’t “see at the moment any substantial risk” because supply wasn’t meeting demand.

But real estate agents do see the potential for trouble ahead because of reckless lending to some buyers.

“The flow of credit for first-time home-buyers is far too easy,” says Mark Wizel, a director of real estate firm CBRE in Melbourne.

“I think that it is a market that is fraught with a bit of danger because if there is a correction in the housing market buyers that have over-extended themselves to take up the opportunity of the great Australian dream may be left exposed.”

Predicting where the market goes from here is a national pastime but agents in Sydney believe booming sales will begin to slow towards the end of the traditional peak spring period.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is also considering reforms to prevent what it believes is excessive speculation by investors that has helped to drive prices higher.

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