Thursday, 28 October 2010

Curse of The Economist...

The Economist is at us again: in its survey of global house prices out at the weekend, it said that only four of the 20 markets surveyed had posted year-on-year price declines and only Ireland’s property catastrophe had worsened.

We came bottom of its league, with a 17 per cent fall in prices between the third quarters of 2009 and 2010.

In another global house price survey, this one from estate agency Knight Frank comparing the second quarters of both years, we only came second from the bottom – Estonia recorded price drops of 31.5 per cent, nearly double the fall here, again, given as 17 per cent.

Cold comfort, of course, when the story told by both surveys is that property markets across the world are getting back on their feet, with Asia’s price rises leading the way – and we’re not at the party.

If you’re emigrating to Australia and thinking of buying, read The Economist’s words of warning. Aussie house prices rose by 18.4 per cent in the period surveyed and The Economist calls it the most over-valued of all the markets it tracked, wondering why Australia’s central bank has opted not to increase its interest rates. It makes approving noises about China’s moves just over a week ago to raise rates to cool its overheating market.

Other countries with heated housing markets include South Africa and Canada. Yes, according to Knight Frank, there’s speculation that the most sober of countries is entering bubble territory.

However, the Canadian government is on the case, raising its base rate three times this year and reducing “the maximum allowable amortization period from 40 years down to 35”!

Those conducting the surveys urge caution over the good news that house prices are on the rise in most markets, as there are still dark forces out there that we in Ireland know all too well about – availability of funding, austerity measures and so on – that could put things into reverse.

Report - The Irish Times

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