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House price boom in Asia now over Almost in all Asian housing markets in the survey, and performed more poorly in 2011, than during the previous year. House prices in Hong Kong were up 5.32% on the year, after rising 18.87% the previous year. House prices in Singapore rose a mere 0.28%, after a rise of 13.06% the previous year.
In both Hong Kong and Singapore there were price-falls in the final quarter of 2011, as a result of cooling measures, coupled with the uncertainties in the global economy. Hong Kong house prices fell 5.24% during the quarter, and Singapore house prices fell 0.67%.
During 2011, house prices in Taiwan fell 8.74%, after rising 9.70% the previous year. China (Shanghai) and Japan (Tokyo) had lesser declines at 3.23% and 3.69%, respectively. House prices may continue to fall in the coming months, for at least as long as the tightening policies remain in place. However, housing markets in South Korea and Indonesia (14 cities) improved from a year earlier with price rises of 2.94% and 0.89%, respectively.
European housing markets still heading down
Most countries whose housing markets experienced accelerated downturns in 2011 are located in Europe, including Finland (-2.22% down in 2011), United Kingdom (-3.39%), Sweden (-5.29%),Netherlands (-5.77%), Slovak Republic (-6.88%), Portugal (-7.78%), Spain (-9.27%), Athens,Greece (-10.43%), and Warsaw, Poland (-10.55%).
Unhappy Ireland still holds the title of world’s weakest housing market’, with house prices plummeting by 18.08% in 2011. With low transactions, constrained mortgage lending, and an uncertain economic environment, Irish house prices are likely to continue falling in 2012.
European countries which saw smaller house price falls this year than the previous year includeTurkey (-1.73%), Croatia (-3.26%), Lithuania (-4.21%) and Bulgaria (-8.99%).
However, several European countries actually enjoyed house price rises in 2011. The highest house price climb in Europe was in Tallinn, Estonia, whose property market has been recovering since the second half of 2010. Over the past twelve months, house prices in Tallinn rose 8.36%.
Other strong European housing markets in 2011 included Norway (+7.01%) and Switzerland(+4.90%).
US housing market showing signs of life
During 2011, house prices in the United States fell 5.54% year-on-year, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index (note that our figures are inflation-adjusted, so they do not mirror the headline figures released by the FHFA). In the final quarter, house prices rose 0.06%, the first quarterly rise over the past two years.
However, the house price index rose in the last quarter in 27 states and the District of Columbia. When coupled with the fact that about half of all U.S. states saw price increases in the latest quarter, this growth adds to mounting evidence that real estate markets are seeing at least some signs of life, says FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. The housing market has been one of the weakest parts of the U.S. economy, but there are signs that it is starting to recover after a price collapse that began 5 and a half years ago. In 2011, about 4.26 million homes were sold, up 1.7% from 4.19 million in 2010.