PHOTO: Traders in the pit at the New York Mercantile Exchange in New York in 2008 as ongoing global financial crisis hits investment stocks hard. Source: AP

There’s a worrying sign in the Australian housing market with one state seeing prices fall at more than double the rate of the 2008 US housing crash.

In 2015 award-winning film The Big Short, Steve Carell and Christian Bale star in a tale about the greed and systemic risk surrounding the US subprime housing bubble and how it led to one of the most painful housing crashes in history.

Using celebrities such as Margot Robbie and Selena Gomez to explain some of the more abstract concepts of finance and real world examples such as an “exotic dancer” having five investment properties, the film painted a picture of American greed and regulatory failure.

The American subprime lending bubble and the eventual housing crash has become a cautionary tale the world over. In the years since, Australians have often liked to comment on how we are different, whether it’s around a backyard BBQ or a high powered CEO addressing the media.

But are we?

It’s no secret that Australia has one of the highest levels of household debt in the world. In fact, as of the most recent comparable data, we have almost 50 per cent more debt than the Americans did during the absolute height of their pre-global financial crisis debt binge.

But this is nothing new. Australians have carried more household debt than Americans for the past 20 years.

However, with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic and more than five million people being supported by the government’s JobKeeper or JobSeeker programs, there are signs that the Aussie property market may be following the same trajectory as the Americans did during the GFC.