PHOTO: Ghost housing estate in Bridgetown, Ireland, April 2012

It’s the $7 trillion question hanging over Australia’s economy — property boom and correction or bubble and bust?

For those warning of the latter, Ireland and its spectacular implosion during the global financial crisis offers a salutary warning of what may lie in wait Down Under.

“I am concerned we could be seeing an Ireland 2.0 here within the next 12 to 18 months,” warned Martin North, the principal at Digital Finance Analytics.

Mr North caused quite a stir with a recent appearance on 60 Minutes where he discussed the possibility of a 30-45 per cent property price crash in Australia, although he rates that as only a one-in-five risk, with a still-large 15-30 per cent fall his base case.