Bulgaria Forces a Smile amid Global House Price Downturn
Bulgaria registered the world's sixth-biggest fall in residential property prices during the first quarter of the year in an unnoticeable and feeble sign of optimism, a survey has shown.
Bulgaria was one of several European housing markets, which experienced accelerated downturns during the year ending in the third quarter of 2011 - down by 9.65% year-on-year.
Now it is part of those European countries, which see positive changes in the momentum of the housing markets, but these are so feeble, that they hardly signal a recovery, a survey by the Global Property Guide shows.
These countries include Kiev, Ukraine (-2.51%), Croatia (-2.45%), United Kingdom (-3.14%), Lithuania (-3.87%) and Bulgaria (-6.21%).
House prices fell in 24 countries, of the 36 countries for which quarterly house price statistics are available, and rose in only 12 countries.
During the latest quarter the downturn appears to have accelerated, with house price falls in 26 countries, and house price gains in only 10.
In nominal terms only 16 countries experienced house price falls during the year, while 20 countries recorded house price rises. But the Global Property Guide's statistical presentation uses price changes after inflation, giving a more realistic picture than the more upbeat nominal figures usually preferred by real estate agents.
Ireland's price-declines have been, over the duration of the crisis, catastrophic, the survey's authors comment. House prices fell 18.95% year-on-year, contrasting with a decline of 'only' 13.12% during the same period last year.
There was also an alarming increase in momentum of house-price declines in Athens, Greece (-11.68%); in Warsaw, Poland (-10.94%); in Portugal (-10.45%); in Spain (-9%); in the Netherlands (-6.05%); and in the Slovak Republic (-5.89%). All saw bigger house-price declines this year than the previous year.
Several countries whose housing markets were last year either in recovery or only just in downturn, saw a significant deterioration in their position, with house price falls during the year to end Q1 2012 in Finland (-2.05%), in Turkey (-2.32%), Sweden (-5.34%) and Riga, Latvia (-5.83%).
Some strong European markets do relieve the gloom. In Estonia house prices surged by 9.13% year-on-year, and in Austria house prices rose by 8.24% year-on-year. In fact the upsurge in these two countries' housing markets was so strong as to propel them into third and fourth place in the worldwide league table.
Other strong housing markets over the past twelve months include Switzerland (+5.49%), Norway (+5.43%), Russia (+3.86%) and Iceland (+2.25%). The 'gainers' seem to be countries whose housing markets either never experienced the recent downturn (Austria, Switzerland, Norway), or are recovering (Estonia, Russia, Iceland).
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