Sunday, June 21, 2015

Employment cycles and exchange rates

A post at Conus on the most recent regional employment data: Cairns employment growth slows; unemployment rate up on back of female jobless

In response to some comments there I thought I would repost this graph of the unemployment rate differential between Cairns and Queensland with a TWI exchange rate overlay.

 
The early years of the series where the cairns unemployment rate was below Queensland (blue) was also a period of significantly weaker exchange rate (red) and weak commodity prices particularly coal. However I think I would probably be wary of drawing strong conclusions from any apparent correlations here.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Bullshit. Nonsense. And Cairns Airport traffic numbers.

Well, the Cairns Airport have updated their traffic numbers for May and am sticking by my scepticism of the HTW CairnsWatch trend on domestic traffic. However the story was a big jump in International passengers for May up 27.4% on the previous year. The Airport even called this a record. It isn't. Yes, I am using the airports own numbers. Never mind sure the Cairns Post will be able to turn it into a headline.

The real record was that May 2014 had been a record low for currently available data going back to July 2004 and probably for a long long time before that. However the recovery in International trend is looking sustainable with the Silk connection to Singapore also commencing at the end of the month. In context best to look at traffic rather than volatile monthly growth:


 
A turnaround in the very early stages from a low base but still a way to go. Monthly growth with 12 month moving average for domestic and total (ex transits). International now a contributor rather than a drag on growth at least:



I await the next CairnsWatch with interest and can only presume any domestic "record" trend well above 5% should be easily identifiable as nonsense.

Source: Cairns Airport

Monday, June 8, 2015

Say What?

The latest CairnsWatch from Rick Carr at HTW popped into the inbox on Friday afternoon. Rick reckons the trend rate of growth for domestic passengers at Cairns Airport is:
Over the period from April 2014 to April 2015 domestic passenger numbers have shown an 8.2% trend increase.  
You can see my previous posts on Airport traffic in recent months:

 Airport growth continues in March; International recovery continues at airport

In my comments on the February numbers I quietly questioned the CairnsWatch trend numbers on this with reference to Chinese New Year. With late release of the March airport numbers this latest CairnsWatch provides a further trend percentage boost after another two months which I just can't stack up with any underlying data from the Airport.

I have checked the CairnsWatch archive but just can't make sense of the reported monthly variation in the trend numbers which did a massive jump in a month between January and February. I don't want to be critical of Rick who is a lovely guy but some of his trend numbers just don't work for me. I'm sticking with my numbers which are also not dissimilar to reported numbers from Cairns Airport and stakeholder Auckland Airport.

Reported in the Cairns Post: Airport and building approvals give rise to Cairns’ economic turnaround

Monday, June 1, 2015

A China fade for arrivals

It has been a while since I've had a look at the overseas arrivals data. After some changes last year there have been problems compiling the data and the ABS has only now caught up to January. Pete Faulkner at Conus has been diligently following the progress: Arrivals up but the China boom is waning

The trend for Chinese arrivals looks to have weakened quite significantly in recent months ahead of the lunar new year period. ABS do a seasonal adjustment for the lunar new year so what I have done is overlay all three series.

 
This shows just how significant the Chinese new year season is for tourism and the seasonal adjustment from the ABS can be huge. The faint dotted line there is a 3 month moving average thrown in to smooth out the seasonal variation in the original data a bit where the new year period overlaps months. Worth watching whether recent trend weakness is sustained or just a flat period before the new year and how it progresses after that period. The previous weak period in 2013 which shows up mostly in the seasonal data was the regulatory changes around package tours.
 
Meanwhile the latest data has allowed me update a favourite graph of the state where most time spent for visitors. This is all short term visitors which would also include such as business and education.

 

Oh no! Surely Victoria can't really be about to overtake Queensland?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Aquis Entertainment lost in Canberra fog?

Last month I posted on the manoeuvre by the Friendly Fung Family (FFF) to backdoor list the Canberra Casino on the ASX via Discovery Resources: Fung listing through the backdoor for Aquis

Having acquired a minimal holding in Discovery (ASX:DIS) of 5,000 shares with a current market value of $525, which should be adequate to imminently turn me into a billionaire casino mogul, I thought I should check on how things were progressing. There has been no further news at all from Discovery since the April 17 trading halt and announcement except for their standard quarterly cash flow report. This doesn't seem consistent with the indicative timeline in the announcement:


Particularly noted here is the indication that after this April 17 announcement they could provide an independent expert's report as soon as late April. Perhaps they had Pat Flanagan pencilled in for that?

My calendar says it is now late May 2015 with no sign of any prospectus, meeting, or even notice thereof. Well they did say it was indicative! Oh no, don't tell me it's the conditions again?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Reef Casino AGM

Reef Casino AGM was today. Somewhat disorganised after belatedly downloading the appropriate documentation for my small super fund holding, and with rainy weather, I drove the few blocks down Abbott St to the Casino.

I approached the lift with an elderly gentleman reliant on a walking stick also carrying his AGM documentation. However the lift would not accept L2 which was the meeting venue. Thankfully the open doors function was operational and spared me from being stuck in a lift with an elderly gentleman reliant on a pacemaker. Casino staff to the rescue. Just go to L1 and walk up the stairs. This took some time for the elderly gentleman who made it just in time for the meeting.

The meeting. Corporate AGM's have a reputation and this was no exception. A nearby gentleman started snoring very early in the Chairman's address. A gentleman unitholder asked if RCT had any debt (it's in the accounts dickhead) and stated that he was confused by changes in his tax statements.

Director's election and Gary Mauric standing against Queensland heroes DeLacy and Haire failed to even show up. Haire was wise and said not much. DeLacy chose to delve into the definition of an independent director which I may come back to with some disagreement. Keith insisted that independence was a state of mind and pointed to his head thereby demonstrating all required skills. Anyway, both independent directors were re-elected on the vote of 70% majority shareholders Accor and Casinos Austria so that's all good.

In such circumstances it is best to avoid direct confrontation and engage over tea and bickies. DeLacy was overheard engaging a couple from Noosa defending the viability of Reef regardless of Aquis. The Noosa couple were insistent to Keith that they wouldn't want anything like Aquis near them.

Meanwhile I had an excellent engagement over coffee with Reef CEO Allan Tan. In confidence all I will say is that this conversation did nothing to change any opinions previously expressed here at Loose Change related to Aquis and probity.

Leaving the meeting I encountered a Wildlife Dome worker attempting to access her workplace on the upper level. I explained to her the lift problem. AGM attendees were also given a free car park exit ticket. The ticket didn't work.

Monday, May 18, 2015

International recovery continues at airport

There were further positive signs for international traffic through the Airport in April which was up 21.8% on April 2014. This was attributed to the new Jetstar Bali service and 14% growth on flights operating in both April 2014 and 2015 (Auckland, Guam, Hong Kong, Osaka, Tokyo). While that growth number sounds impressive and is positive we do need to consider that it comes from similar double digit declines in the early months of 2014 so really only recovers the 2013 position. Consequently we should expect some good international growth numbers to continue and hopefully become also become less volatile.

 
Domestic continued consistent growth at levels below the recovery a few years ago but still generally in line with or above average growth at the major airports.

 

International is only around 12.5% of domestic, which remains the dominant driver, but is starting finally to show signs of a positive contribution to total performance.


Source: Cairns Airport

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Auction schmauction

This weeks real estate advertorial at the Cairns Post features a glowing endorsement of auctions: Auctions all the rage in Cairns property market
RE/MAX Cairns Real ­Estate Services owner Tony Williamson attributed the booming trend to television.
“More and more shows are demonstrating how an auction works, from Storage Hunters and Antiques Roadshow to The Block, so buyers are learning how to compete at them,” he said.
“In any market in demand, auctions are by far the best way to sell, because you still get to set the reserve and if there’s enough competition among buyers then we can push ­bidding above that.”
He said while a majority of sales in southern capitals were by auction, in Cairns about 10 per cent of properties sell under the hammer, but he said his agency was “trying to steer the ship around” with bulk auction events like one he held recently involving 14 properties that attracted a full house of bidders and spectators.

A majority of sales in southern capitals being auction doesn't sound quite right? This is a bit dated with numbers from 2011 and before the recent surge in Sydney but auction numbers then varied between 3% and 26% with higher rates towards the inner city: Fewer Sydney vendors selling by auction: What percentage of homes sold under the hammer? A regional breakdown: APM

I expect auction rates would likely have increased in Sydney since then so I also threw a tweet query on auctions to real estate identity and enemy of the property seminar spruiker Neil Jenman, who is a critic of auctions:


Neil Jenman@neiljenman 2 hours ago
NONSENSE! To prove it: ALL Cairns sellers can have my book FREE (May only)! See why AUCTIONS = WORST way to sell. 1800 1800 18.
 
 
Yes, it's a Loose Change exclusive offer from Neil Jenman!
 
The most recent Remax bulk auction in Cairns I am aware of was April 28 at Dunwoodys. This was of interest as there was a small unit to be auctioned in the old Park Regis near the hospital which is nearby my own salubrious bohemian unit building. I didn't go to the auction as a neighbor who also has an investment unit in the Park Regis was attending. Feedback was that she stayed for 8 auctions of which one had sold prior and only one sold at the auction. The Park Regis unit was passed in on a single bid at $101k (reserve believed to be $200k) and is now on the market at "Low $200'000s".
 
That all went well then  o_O


Note: There is also a handy guide to selling your property at Choice.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Narcissist Twins

#1 Gavin King
Cairns MP Gavin King said he had not ruled out taking legal action against the person who posted a picture on Facebook of his car parked in what appeared to be a disabled parking space at The Pier.
#2 Rob Pyne
GOODBYE: Watching the Edward Snowdon movie in town tonight makes you wonder if it really is all beyond the capacity of any individual to ‘make a difference’. Clearly the government, corporations and the media control the place with an iron grip. The Cairns Post is sure to do another job on me tomorrow and they may as well be owned by the LNP. Between the media, political trolls and apparatchiks I am not sure one can make a big difference. No more social media from me until I can make sense of it.
Poor Cairns  o_O

Friday, May 1, 2015

Airport growth continues in March

A late release this month for Cairns Airport statistics for March. Domestic was up 4.9% on March 2014 and International up 2.8%. Monthly Y-o-Y growth for the last five years looks like this with a 12 month moving average:



International only comprises about 10% - 15% of the total. Commentary on the volatile international routes remains positive and include the launch of Jetstar services to Bali and resumption of seasonal Air NZ flights to Auckland. Comparable flight routes with 2014 to Guam, Hong Kong, Osaka and Tokyo were up a combined 13%. There is also a comment that domestic growth was among the highest at the major airports.

I haven't looked for any available stats from Melbourne or Brisbane but Sydney Airport also reported a very strong March. Domestic was up 4.2% and International 8.9% which were both well above YTD performance. Commentary there cites effect of an earlier Easter, cricket world cup, and a 38.8% increase in Chinese passengers on the tail end of the lunar new year celebrations.

Note: The most recent CairnsWatch preceded these latest numbers but had previously estimated trend Airport growth in February at 7.7% which was up from 2.1% the previous month. I just can't figure that most recent number. The only months with growth rates above that in recent years have related to the Chinese lunar new year month and the 2012 eclipse. I blame the moon gods & godesses!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Context on female participation rates

Following the last post and a query this is the long term female participation rate in context. This is the difference between the male and female trend participation for Australia and Queensland since the ABS series began in 1978. Cairns is the SA4 area since 1998 from the Conus Trend.

Cans = Conus Trend
 

Cans. Previously a city of workforce female participant Amazons reverting to the mean? Just for you Leigh Dall'Osto and thanks for provoking the idea!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Do you see what I see?

A recent post was noted at Conus on a favourite topic: A look at the gender split in Cairns’ jobs market .

This related to a recent post by a former politician and alleged journalist (or should that be the other way around) at Cairns Now: Is it getting harder for women to find jobs in Cairns compared to men?
If you're female and looking for a job, Cairns was a tough place to be in March. While economists prefer the trend rate when it comes to employment statistics, increasingly the month of March is showing more women are giving up looking for jobs in Cairns with last month's participation rate at its lowest point for women than at any time in the past decade.
There are some issues I think with this analysis and conclusion. I will ignore the dodgy king-parrot-nomics methodology of comparing the raw data female participation rate for the single month of March over the past decade. Lets start with the Cairns SA4 participation rate:

 
The decline in the Cairns participation rate has been a concern and significant relative to broad declines both nationally and in Queensland over the period. Not without irony the ex-member for Cairns only seems to have discovered this problem since becoming an ex-member.
 
The gender split in the Cairns labour force data has been a subject of interests and previous posts at Loose Change. Pete has kindly forwarded his Conus Trend gender data and I have overlaid this to update my existing graphs. This is the spread between the male and female participation rates for the series:

Blue = Conus Trend; Red = 12 month average
 
The male participation rate is typically higher. The early part of the series here shows part of the structural trend increase over several decades in female participation. The trend spread has been relatively stable and ranged sideways over the past ten tears which is also the period chosen by Cairns Now. The green line is the ten year average. The current numbers are sort of very average. The trend spread has been just below that average and very stable for some time.
 
Diversion: Note that as we break down data into sub-sectors it becomes increasingly more volatile even on a trend or moving average basis. The ABS data comes flagged with sample size warnings. The combined data for Cairns is sometimes flagged. The subsector male-female data is only sometimes not flagged. Also note that the trend data can appear more volatile at times than the lagging 12 month average but is also a better indicator of any turning points. I think Pete has posted on this before at Conus.
 
I find it difficult to justify that there is some kind of significant relative deterioration in the female participation rate in Cairns. Lets look at the unemployment rate differential:
 

 
Blue = Conus Trend; Red = 12 month average
 
Clearly there was a period around a year or so ago that was somewhat unusual when the two rates split with a low female unemployment rate diverging and opened up a wide spread against the male rate. Yes, participation rates can play a role in that. I think at the time I posted that this threw up more than usual caution for me on the sample. Lets look at female employment as a proportion of total employment:


Blue = Conus Trend; Red = 12 month average
 
As Pete has noted at Conus, the trend female data has shown some deterioration since last July. However that also comes off previous relative highs and remains in line with or above average. Again, some of those monthly raw data numbers in 1H 2014 throw up sample concerns. Could the proportion of female employment really have been 49% in May 2014?
  
Lastly, the male and female employment estimates for the series. In this one the Conus Trend is a dotted line and the solid line a 12 month average as used by the Qld Gov't Statistician.

Blue = Conus Trend; Red = 12 month average
 
I can't see any basis for comparative weakness in female employment here. What I see, or think I see, looks more to me like signs of a reversion to the mean in some of the  recent data.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Regional rental trends updated

RTA have updated their rental data for the March quarter based on new bonds lodged. The same trends remain apparent with continued weakness in Mackay taking rentals there below both Townsville and Cairns. Cairns continues to establish its position as the high rent capital.


 
 
A comparison with Darwin may also be interesting to watch with some warning bells starting to be rung for that property market.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Board contest at Reef Casino

Reef Casino (RCT) posted AGM details today. This is normally boring stuff but interest this time is that the largest individual shareholder Gary Mauric, with about 5.3%, is contesting a board position. That means there will be three candidates for two positions with existing directors Keith DeLacy and Richard Haire nominated for re-election. Both are prominent pillars of the Queensland business boys club.
 
Mauric has no chance given that Casinos Austria and Accor with a combined holding of 70% control the board and the board have recommended a vote against his election:


Board recommendation
The board recognises that having a range of different skills, backgrounds and experience amongst its directors is important. The board considers that the directors standing for re-election demonstrate commitment to their role and continue to make a valuable contribution to the board. The board recognises that a range of tenures amongst the directors provides a valuable perspective on the Trust and its operations. In particular, the board values Mr DeLacy’s deep understanding of the Trust, its investments and the environment in which it operates because of his long tenure as a board member and because he is based locally in Cairns. The board recognizes Mr Haire’s extensive experience in listed public companies and his corporate governance experience including his tenure as President of the Queensland Division of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
The board has considered Mr Mauric’s work experience and formed the view that he would be a suitable director were there three vacancies available on the board. However, in light of the limited vacancies on the board, only two of the three candidates can be appointed. Given the substantial contribution that Mr DeLacy and Mr Haire make to the board and their proven track record as directors, the directors of Reef Corporate Services Ltd (excluding Mr DeLacy and Mr Haire in respect of their own re-election resolution) recommend that unitholders vote in favour of the election of Mr DeLacy and Mr Haire and against the election of Mr Mauric.
The chairman of the meeting intends to vote undirected proxies in favour of the election of Mr DeLacy and Mr Haire and against the election of Mr Mauric.
 
The top twenty holders are listed in the annual report with Mauric holding 2,507,465 units in his own name. Spouse Rita is also listed with 150,000. Most recent trades in RCT have been up to $3.35 which is $1 below the Aquis bid. So Mauric would have been some $2.5 million better of had the bid been completed.
My guess is that Mr Mauric may be annoyed and he would have every right to be. Subject to further research KS Corporate Advisory anticipates recommending a vote for Mauric. My own holding of 1,000 RCT acquired via SMSF the week the bid collapsed will provide at least moral support. Perhaps I should lobby for proxies?
Holders are also invited to submit questions prior to the meeting. I would anticipate several around the performance and management of the casino last year during the takeover bid, the probity delays by Fung and whether this breached the implementation agreement, as well as issues related to continuous disclosure.
Could be an interesting AGM at the casino on 25th May and there is also a 20% discount voucher at Tamarinds.
Reef Casino 3 year chart
 

Climate and Water Outlook, May–July 2015


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fung listing through the backdoor for Aquis

A chance encounter with the hardcopy edition of the Weekend Compost led to the discovery on Page 18 of yet another Aquis report from Nick Dalton. I don't think this has yet been posted online.  Update: Now posted online Tony Fung floats Canberra casino on Australia share market

Fung has done a deal announced on Friday for a backdoor ASX listing of Canberra Casino via Discovery Resources. Dalton describes Discovery as a Namibian oil & gas explorer. So it's just as well they are getting out of that business as their handful of Namibian exploration tenements are all metals related. Discovery recently reported net assets of just $1.6 million. The current board includes a Tom Pickett who is presumably the same Tom Pickett who also appears with our old friend Michael King and our new friend Narelle McBain on the board of Diversified Mining.

Yes, it's the ghosts of MFS Octaviar again, but wait, there's more! Fung acquired a substantial stake of 17.3% in Discovery via an off-market transaction back in February. This was through his 4JS Pty Ltd which has previously been the vehicle for his rural interests. The 4JS website is no longer and I understand the Mt Garnet property may have been sold or was on the market.

The seller to Fung of that stake in Discovery Resources was Twin Oaks Investments Pty Ltd with notification signed by director Paul Manka. Yes, it's that old MFS Octaviar crew yet again:  Deals made after collapse, court told

If you are unfamiliar with the colourful background of the MFS Octaviar imbroglio there is plenty available via google but here are just a few links from the past pertaining to the relevant identities: How Michael King's dream turned to dust; Inside the MFS EGM fiasco; Avenue’s conflicted connection to troubled MFS

I went looking for any background to the Twin Oaks holding in Discovery but couldn't find an initial notice of becoming a substantial holder. That was because Manka filled out the wrong form for a change to an existing substantial holding. In fact he filled out the wrong form twice after an 'arithmetical error' the first time, by which he means he forgot to include a small portion of the holding.

Twin Oaks acquired the substantial holding of 4,450,000 shares in Discovery for a total consideration of $597,951.61 in February 2013. Just three weeks later they flipped the lot to Michael King for $614,383.63. King held onto them until June 2014 when he then flipped them back to Twin Oaks again, also for $614,383.63. That parcel has now been flogged to Fung in February also for $614,383.63 consideration. It's an interesting history. At least the price has been stable!

Anyway, Discovery Resources is set to become Aquis Entertainment Limited listed on the ASX. Aquis will be issued shares for the transfer of Canberra Casino and Fung will end up controlling 89% of the company following this transaction. There is also a capital raising planned for $2 -$3 million.

Alex Chow will become a new director. Chow's most prominent career background seems to have been with New World China Land Limited which has previously known some controversy in Hong Kong: Leung Chin-man appointment controversy. His previous executive career at New World seems to have gone missing in the bio. New World group has also made an appearance in a previous post here: Tony Fung: Past business deals and the BVI

The full announcement released to ASX on Friday includes further details, a pro-forma balance sheet and comment that the company may consider "other potential projects in Queensland and elsewhere".


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Dredge report dredged

The release finally of the Trinity Inlet dredging report. I don't think there is much credit to be attributed anywhere on this one. More than two years and unexplained delays for this? Could I possibly suggest someone should be showing solicitor Brett Moller at Ports North which way the door is?

As always Pete Faulkner at Conus has provided a good summary of the economics: Cairns Port dredge EIS finally sees the light of day…and it kills the project

The economic aspects come in Appendix 9 from Bill Cummings who should have perhaps been more circumspect re comments he made on talkback radio re environmental aspects as a consultant to the project.

I could post lots here but what's the point? I could also post on the veracity of economic models used to support anything but we already know these are suspect.

The political situation is interesting because the economics would stack up except that the Fed Environment Minister Hunt has canned any dredge spoil dumping in the GBRMP area. So it's actually the LNP in Canberra which has destroyed the viability!

Note that the alternative offshore dredge disposal site outside the GBRMP closer to shore is way worse for sediment dispersal environmental outcomes.

Treasurer Curtis looks to have ditched it anyway. As far as I can see absent environmental aspects this project would be no less viable or more stupid than the Townsville super stadium subsidy to which $100m was committed in the election.

Links: Cairns Shipping Development Project; Trinity Inlet dredging canned after Environmental Impact Statement raises issues; Mounting evidence shows dredge spoil threat to the Great Barrier Reef; Dredging the dredge report; Ships Ahoy?; Cruise tourism reports diverge

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Aquis Broadwater?


Just browsing yesterday through the ASIC register for the Aquis companies associated with the Friendly Fung Family (FFF). Fung has shown a particular interest in the Gold Coast recently having bought the penthouse in the Soul building at Surfers Paradise and the horse racing properties from financially stressed boganaire Nathan Tinkler in the hinterland.
 
There were a couple of new companies registered earlier this year. Aquis Soul and Aquis Lake Orr. Lake Orr would appear to be the name of part of the Gold Coast waterways behind Mermaid Beach. Both these companies are registered to the Spence St office of Moore Stephens in Cairns which is home for most of the Fung Aquis stable.
 
A new addition is that a Narelle Louise McBain appears as a director of both these newly registered companies along with Fung. So it was curious yesterday when another new registration appeared for Aquis Broadwater Pty Ltd with Narelle as sole director and secretary as well as sole shareholder! No Fung! This company is also registered to the Moore Stephens office in Cairns.
 
Narelle would appear from a quick google search to have had some previous association with Octavian/MFS and Michael King.  You may recall that King was taken on by Fung last year during the bid for Reef Casino with some controversy and comment and then was reported supposedly to have been let go at the end of last year when the bid collapsed. King is facing contested charges from ASIC over the collapse of Octavian in 2008.
 
No judgement. I'm just curious?
 



Update in the Courier-Mail: Fung eyes Broadwater; Nick Dalton has caught up: Tony Fung registers new Aquis Gold Coast “acquisition” company

Sunday, April 12, 2015

When logs rool for graphs

It was noted this week that the monthly RBA Chart Pack had changed the scaling for property prices: The RBA is using new charts that make Sydney house prices look less bonkers
Today, the RBA released its Chart Packs updated to 2 April 2015 which revealed another insight into the lines of thinking at Martin Place.
Previously the “Housing Prices” chart in the Reserve Bank’s Chart Packs have been presented using a linear or arithmetic scale, with prices spaced equidistantly. On a linear scale, housing prices in Sydney were seen to be galloping towards the top of the chart.
In this month’s Chart Packs, however, the Reserve Bank has shifted seamlessly to a log scale, whereby equal percentage changes in housing prices are plotted as the same vertical distance on the scale.
That comes from Pete Wargent, a property buyers agent whose commentary I have some time for, which is a rarity. However I think this has been misinterpreted by some judging by comments seen elsewhere that a log scale is not 'real' or has been manipulated, and not sure this change or the timing really has much significance. The RBA chart is more illustrative than anything and a log scale is more appropriate for this purpose. The question should be why the RBA was previously using a linear scale.

A log scale, or rather semi-log scale, effectively represents changes with percentage on the Y-axis. So the distance between 100 and 200 will be the same as the distance then between 200 and 400, and then 400 to 800, etc. This is a far more 'real' way to represent changes in property prices over a period of time rather than a linear scale which will inevitably show prices heading for the stratosphere. If you look at HTW CairnsWatch you will see that Rick Carr uses a semi-log scale for his graph of Cairns property prices.

In the olden days about the only place one could procure semi-log graph paper was the bookshop at either the stock exchange or university. Early spreadsheets were pretty crude and can still be quirky. I have recently been playing with a log scale to analyse historical prices within my retro-bohemian Esplanade building following some recent sales, the first since 2008.

A linear scale with available data since 1987 looks like this:

 
The two series there represent the two different sized units within the building. The trendlines are Excel generated exponential which will curve upwards. Note that if I had excluded the most recent transactions it would have looked like valuations were heading to the stratosphere up to 2008.
 
If I graph the same data on a semi-log scale it will look like this:
 

 
A straight trendline can now be generated to make more meaningful sense for any analysis as a benchmark over time. Must do some work on those Y-axis gridlines though!