Dr Mumbo

Daily Mail’s trillion dollar blunder

The problem with basing your business model on lifting stories from other websites is that you lift the errors too.

Which strikes Dr Mumbo may well be the reason that The Daily Mail Australia is currently making a rather bold claim – it suggests that house sales in Sydney’s suburb of Mosman were last year close to Australia’s entire gross domestic product.


The real number is ONE THOUSAND times smaller

The Daily Mail’s John Carney reports: “A trendy Sydney suburb on the city’s north Shore has grossed a trillion dollars in property sales over the last 12 months.” Or, to use the punctuation of the headline, “ONE TRILLION dollars”.

Which is interesting, given that Australia’s entire GDP is only estimated at about 1.5 trillion dollars. It suggests that the rest of the country really need to start doing their bit to contribute.

A closer examination of the Daily Mail’s story reveals a link to a story on Property Observer, which also uses the one trillion dollars line.


As Property Observer’s Prateek Chatterjee reports further down in the story, the actual number in question is based on data shared by Core Logic a fortnight before.

But the number is actually $1,047,292,200.

Which as fans of Silicon Valley will know, is only a billion dollars. You need three commas to be in the billion dollar club.

But you need four commas to join the trillion dollar club. And the hard working bankers of Mosman didn’t quite get there.

Given how much trouble journalists – Dr Mumbo included – often have with numbers, it’s not a surprising sort of mistake to make.

It’s even happened to Dr Evil.


But fair to say, the Daily Mail’s readers are not being charitable.


For the record, it will have been a long time since anyone described The Mail’s John Carney as a “spotty teenager”. An examination of his LinkedIn profile reveals that he’s a very experienced sports journalist. Not quite so much experience with high finance though.


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