European Property Fails to Impress, Knight Frank Claims

The news follows Global Property Guide's mid-2010 report, which also confirmed a resurgence in confidence and strength of the worldwide markets....

The news follows Global Property Guide's mid-2010 report, which also confirmed a resurgence in confidence and strength of the worldwide markets.

According to Knight Frank, increases have been noted in 53 per cent of all the locations monitored by the estate agent, with the overall annual inflation for all markets moving into positive figures for the first time since the end of 2008.

The study of the global property sector noted that the strongest growth was seen in the Asia Pacific region, with China (68 per cent), Hong Kong (30.6 per cent), Singapore (24.3 per cent) and Australia (20 per cent) recording the strongest year-on-year growth out of the 47 countries looked at.

At the other end of the scale, the eastern European destinations of Estonia (40.3 per cent), Ukraine (34.7 per cent), Lithuania (32.1 per cent) and Latvia (26.3 per cent) complete the group.

Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank, commented: "Arguably, the most noticeable trend in global house prices is the ease with which the performance of global housing markets can now be grouped by world region.

"The top four positions in our rankings are all occupied by Asia Pacific locations, whilst Europe dominates the bottom half of the table."

Mr Bailey notes that the results of the research clearly highlight that recovery has begun in many of the markets around the world, as last year only 33 per cent of the countries monitored managed to post positive growth figures.

And, in comparison to last year, even the worst-performing markets are improving.

"Analysis of the quarterly growth results suggests the markets in some of the worst-performing markets such as the Baltic states and Ukraine are starting to experience some respite, with prices falling at a slower rate than previously," he claims.

But what does this mean for individuals looking to invest in real estate around the world?

The world's housing markets are sure to be affected by a number of external influences over the coming months, as measures to control and sustain economic growth and policies designed to reduce national deficits are sure to have a profound influence on the success of real estate markets around the globe.

For investors looking to gain the maximum return on investment, it would seem foolish to head to the top-performing markets and expect them to continue to do so for a long period of time, as each one has a limit to how high prices can climb before they begin to head back in the opposite direction.

The Chinese government is already implementing measures to cool the rapid growth which has been experienced in the property sector and many commentators are unsure how long the boom can last in Singapore - figures from the country's Institute of Surveyors and Valuers suggest that some districts have experienced an 88 per cent drop in transactions.

In fact, even Mr Bailey is unsure how long the increases can last for, claiming that "it remains to be seen whether this is another period of sustained growth or the middle peak in a double dip recession".

A number of European destinations sit in the middle of the table, with popular investment destinations such as Spain, France and the US all hopeful of price gains in the future. And with all three boasting thriving tourism markets there will always be a strong demand for buy-to-let investors to take advantage of.

However, it is also worth remembering that where there is uncertainty there is opportunity and massive discounts on property in European markets could be a tempting proposition for investors prepared to play the long waiting game.

Hungary, for example, sits pretty much in the middle of the Knight Frank report with gains of two per cent, yet low prices and rental yields of about eight per cent could offer property investors the chance to make good returns, but its contracting economy, large national debt and unstable government make it a risky bet.

Certainly, a number of economies around the world face challenges and uncertainty, which is manifesting itself in the form of tightening fiscal policy and austerity measures, but so far in 2010 it is mostly good news for real estate.ADNFCR-3415-ID-19846920-ADNFCR

- Monday 21 June 2010

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