Global Real Estate price gains are shrinking

House-price increases are still recording double-digit annual growth rates in several nations, according to a report by ResearchWorldwide.com, a real estate information company – while the appreciation rate has collapsed in a handful of countries.

From mid-2004 to mid-2005, Hong Kong home prices grew 21.2 percent, while home prices jumped 17.6 percent in South Africa, 16.5 percent in New Zealand, 15.8 percent in the United States, 14.5 percent in France, 13.7 percent in Spain, and 12.2 percent in Denmark, the company reported.

"There is much hype about bursting bubbles in house prices worldwide, which is not borne out by the facts. Of the 22 countries we monitor, the rate of house-price increases has remained positive in 19 countries over the past 24 months," according to the ResearchWorldwide.com announcement.

Germany and Japan have been recording negative house-price increases for a number of years, and Australia has seen a miniscule 0.1 percent drop in house-price increases compared to a year ago.

"Admittedly, the rate of house-price increases in most countries have slowed down since the heady peaks of mid-2003, however this is a healthy sign of air slowly being let out of the over-inflated balloon. This slowing down in the rate of house-price increases is welcomed, as it allows housing markets to cool down especially from investor hype, which could be damaging if remained unchecked," the company stated in the announcement.

But while most of the 22 countries studied experienced a reduction in house-price increases from 2004-05 vs. 2003-04, the appreciate rate nearly doubled in 2004-05 over the 8.7 percent jump from 2003-04.

The largest reduction in the rate of house-price increases from two years ago has been seen in the United Kingdom, which dropped from 17.8 percent increase for the 12 months to September 2004 to 1.8 percent increase for the 12 months to September 2005, ResearchWorldwide.com reported.

Australia's house-price increase of 10.9 percent in mid-2004 was down to -0.1 percent in mid-2005.

Other countries that saw the air slowly being let out of the house-price-increase balloon over the last 24 months include: Israel, South Africa, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Spain, Canada, Sweden, China, Switzerland and Norway.

"Contrasting against that six countries have seen the rate of house-price increases continue to rise over the last 24 months. The United States leads this pack with New Zealand, Belgium, Singapore, Netherlands and France seeing the rate of house prices increasing from mid-2003 to mid-2005," ResearchWorldwide.com noted. "While warning signals have been expressed, especially about the United States' largest house-price increases in more than 25 years, the U.S. investor market appears to be the most at risk especially when media reports of many houses bought having not been built, as yet, appear in the global media.

"Common sense must start to prevail. Genuine home buyers have affordability based on the borrowing cost to earnings as their yardstick, and investors have return on investment based on net rental to cost of investment as their yardstick. Those who are irresponsible or greedy will pay a considerable price because every market has a cycle and it is evident that the peak of the rate of house-price increases has passed in 15 out of the 22 countries we monitor. The remaining countries are living on borrowed time in reaching their peak," ResearchWorldwide.com stated in the announcement.

"We believe that if the air continues to be let out of the balloon slowly, the rate of house-price increases worldwide can remain in positive territory for the foreseeable future providing excessive greed by investors, as well as home buyers irresponsibility of committing excessive income to home-ownership costs, does not meaningfully occur."

Article from: www.inman.com