GPG: Global house prices in some Asian nations fare better

KUALA LUMPUR: The Global Property Guide (GPG) released findings on Friday, Nov 26 that over the year till the third quarter (3Q2010), half of the world's property prices are up while the other half was down with some Asian nations having price surges.

The guide's statistics were based on inflation-adjusted house price changes that give a realistic picture of housing figures.

Overall, it showed that 17 out of 35 countries recorded increase in house prices over the year to end 3Q2010. Of the 18 countries that experience house price falls, 11 recorded slower rates of decline.

The GPG revealed that Asian house prices surged despite government intervention. "The rapid economic expansion in Singapore cancelled out anti-speculative measures implemented by the government," GPG said. House prices on the island republic rose by 18.98% over the year to 3Q2010, the guide revealed, even with the imposition of stamp duty, tighter financial conditions, and restrictions on home ownership.

In Hong Kong, the guide recorded price hiked 17.84% in 3Q2010, up from a year earlier. "Hong Kong has the largest quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) increase, 5.94%, of any location," GPG said.

On the other hand, Taiwan's measures helped tame rising house prices. "On a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis, house prices were up 6.97% to 3Q2010, a deceleration from last year's increase of 10.87%. But house prices fell 1.5% during the last quarter," said GPG.

Japan saw house prices rise since January 2010. In the Tokyo metropolitan area, average condominium prices increased by 5.07% from a year earlier.

Indonesia (3.04%) and Thailand (0.84%) experienced house price falls during the year to 3Q2010. Thailand has the worse q-o-q drop of any country of 10.25%.

As for the rest of the world, Europe remains weak, with Germany, the UK, Switzerland and Denmark having modest increases of only 1% y-o-y to 3Q2010.

Ireland, at 14.94%, has the worse year to 3Q2010 price decline. Also struggling is Lithuania. "The Ober-Haus apartment price index, which reports apartment prices in Lithuania's five largest cities, slipped by 10.36% during the year to 3Q2010," GPG said. "Nevertheless, the recent y-o-y decline is a big improvement on the 31% fall experienced during the same period of last year."

One of the bright sparks in Europe is Latvia, recording a y-o-y price increase of 24.73%. Last year, the country's house prices declined 59.70%. Other nations such — as Finland and Norway — showed y-o-y increases of 5.99% and 4.38% respectively, and both countries has seen house prices increase since 3Q last year.

The USA is struggling. "Recovery has eluded the US housing market," GPG said. "The seasonally-adjusted purchase-only house price index was down by 4.31% over the year to 3Q2010, worse than the decline of 2.41% during the previous year." Although the US recorded a modest increase on a q-o-q basis in 2Q2010, that soon dropped in the next quarter with prices went down 1.68%.

As for the Middle-East, Israel's house prices have increased in the year to 3Q2010 by 14.12%. "This marked the fifth consecutive double-digit quarterly y-o-y rise in prices of owner-occupied dwellings in Israel," GPG said.

Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, on the other hand, slumped 7.04% over the year to 3Q2010, although earlier in the year prices did increase. "Seasonality and strict leading policies limited the performance of Dubai's housing market, and the latest quarter's figures showed a large price decline of 7.05%," GPG said.
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