Mapped: European house prices compared

Where are house prices rising and falling in Europe? We map the official figures to present a comparison of the continent's housing markets.

The European Union is the subject on everybody’s lips this year, as the UK prepares to begin negotiations for leavng the EU as soon as next week. While the property world focuses on what the vote will mean for the UK market, the pound and the behaviour of British buyers and expats overseas, international interest has rarely been higher in European property, thanks to the weak euro against the dollar. Where should buyers invest in Europe? One significant factor that will drive demand is capital growth: where are house prices and falling?

Using the most recent data from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, we’ve mapped house price growth at the end of 2016 and over the preceding year to present an overall snapshot of the continents’ housing markets.

The latest figures show that house prices rose by 4.7 per cent in the European Union across the whole of 2016. Price growth peaked in the middle of the year, with values rising 1.5 per cent and 1.3 per cent in Q2 and Q3 respectively. The final three months saw prices rise 0.8 per cent, slower than the previous quarter but faster than the 0.1 per cent growth at the start of the year.

Among the EU member states for which statistics are available, the highest annual increases in house prices in 2016 were in Iceland (13.6 per cent), Norway (11.6 per cent) and the Czech Republic (11 per cnt), overtaking last year’s top trio of Hungary (9.7 per cent), Austria (7 per cent) and Sweden (6.5 per cent). Several markets saw prices drop at the end of 2016 – Belgium (-0.6 per cent), Denmark (-1.5 per cent), France (-0.3 per cent), Croatia (-0.6 per cent), Austria (-0.1 per cent), Finland (-0.1 per cent) and the UK (-0.1 per cent), but unlike 2015, there were no countries in Europe to record a price fall over the year. The slowest annual growth was recorded in Italy (0.1 per cent), and Croatia (0.8 per cent).

Malta (6 per cent), Iceland (5.4 per cent) and the Czech Republic (4.7 per cent) recorded the biggest quarter-on-quarter increases. Cyprus also recorded one of the most significant turnarounds, with prices up 2.8 per cent year-on-year and 3.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter, reversing a 1.2 per cent annual drop in 2015.

Mapping the data across the European Union makes it easier to spot the wider trends among member states. By toggling between the quarterly and annual figures using our interactive chart, the state of each housing market can be determined – those with strong recent quarterly growth but weak annual growth are enjoying an uptick, while those with strong annual growth but weaker quarterly growth are cooling down.

“Property growth continues to climb on both an annual basis and quarterly basis in Portugal, as the housing market recovery builds momentum, while Spain’s recovery remains uneven but steady. Accelerating growth in Ireland, Germany and Bulgaria, though, make all three attractive prospects for the coming year. Enquiries on TheMoveChannel.com have been strong for Bulgarian real estate over the last year, while Germany’s growing population, which is fuelling house price growth, has made it a favourite among investors.”

“The UK’s slowing quarterly growth since Q2 2016, when the new stamp duty surcharge was introduced, indicates both the impact of the tax change and potential Brexit uncertainty upon the market. Annual growth of 5.7 per cent, though, highlights the long-term stability of UK real estate, especially at a time when the weak pound and slowing price rises make the country particularly attractive. Whether you are looking for Brexit bargains or long-term capital growth, TheMoveChannel.com’s mapping of the data highlights the fact that the European Union still spells opportunity for many investors.”

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