14 June 2010

Real Estate Spread Betting

Now that the FIFA World Cup 2010 is underway, there are many betting ads, e.g. from Sportsbet. In the recent Germany vs Australia game, if you think that Germany will win you can put your money where your mouth is and bet on Germany to win.

Wouldn't it be a great idea if you can do the same thing with Australian house prices? Gambling company should allow punters to bet on whether they think house prices will go up or down.

As it turns out, house price spread betting already exists in the UK, as I have discovered in an article in the Times Online about spread betting: "So, is it possible to make money out of property without the boring necessity of actually buying a house, paying stamp duty or dealing with oleaginous estate agents? The answer is yes: by betting on the movements of the British housing market. Spread betting, as it is known, has proved fabulously lucrative for players such as Simon Smith, 33, who makes rather a good living by sitting in his office in Leeds working out what is going to happen to house prices — and placing his money accordingly."

According to the Times article, many home owners are using house price spread betting to hedge against a fall in house prices. On the other side of the equation, renters can use house price spread betting to hedge agaisnt a rise in house prices, so there is a market both ways.

Further Googling has revealed that you can engage in house price spread betting on UK house prices via IG Index. I am not sure whether this site allows Australians to sign up. I am also unsure about the taxation implications of spread betting.

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