First, there were Macquarie Bank predictions of 7.5 per cent price drops, starting next year.

It was a national forecast, laughed off as improbable in Sydney or Melbourne by analysts, but the damage was done.

The biggest blow came on Wednesday when Westpac lifted its mortgage rates by 0.2 per cent.

As AMP Capital chief economist Dr Shane Oliver told me later: “The bottom line is that buyers are worried that the Westpac move is a sign of things to come. I think the other big banks will follow . . . it’s only a matter of when.”

Moral of the story is to be ahead of the game by having a good mortgage broker on your side chasing discounts so you’re the ultimate winner.