It looks like ratings trends for 'The Block' are a decent indicator for Australia's property market

Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Australians love property.

We love to buy it. We love to talk about it. We even love to watch shows about it.

It’s close to a national obsession.

I remember watching the first series of “The Block”, a popular TV show that many Australians would be familiar with.

Crazy John, the character of the mobile phone retailer of the same name, was jumping around excitedly as the bids on the renovated apartments rolled in.

People were smiling and clapping to the theatrics going on. Property was great.

At the time, the inner contrarian inside me said: “if people can get so excited over a simple property auction, surely the top is in, at least in current cycle.”

In the end, it was.

A small and shallow downturn followed, and after one more season, the TV show disappeared from our screens, at least until the next major property market upswing began in early 2009.

The TV ratings of “The Block” provided a fairly good, if not anecdotal, contrarian indicator on the outlook for the market.

It seems it’s not just me who uses the show to gauge current sentiment among prospective buyers.

As seen in this excellent chart below from Macquarie Bank, its ratings also has a reasonable relationship to the amount Australians spend on home renovations.

Macquarie Bank

The gap in the TV ratings reflects that the show was put on hiatus between 2004 to 2010.

With a new series set to begin shortly, it may provide a few clues not only the current appetite of buyers, but also how busy tradies may be in the period ahead.

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