Global House Prices Rising at Fastest Pace in 15 Years
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Global House Prices Rising at Fastest Pace in 15 Years

13 countries and territories registered double-digit growth in the first quarter.

By Fang Block
Thu, Jun 3, 2021 1:19pmGrey Clock 2 min

A boom in housing demand during the global pandemic has driven price growth to a 15-year high, according to a report released Wednesday.

The Knight Frank’s Global House Price Index, measuring average home prices across 56 countries and territories, rose 7.3% year over year in the first quarter, the fastest pace since the fourth quarter of 2006.

“A contributory factor to rising house prices globally has been the mass reassessment of housing needs in the wake of the pandemic, whether that’s been buyers seeking home offices, gardens or just to be closer to wide-open spaces,” Kate Everett-Allen, head of international residential research at Knight Frank, told Mansion Global.

“The demands on the home have increased in lockdowns and homeowners have reflected on where and how they want to live, prompting many to relocate or purchase a second home,” she added.

With a 32% year-over-year price increase, Turkey led the rankings for the fifth consecutive quarter. However, stripping out inflation, real house prices rose around 16% annually in the country.

“Turkey’s somewhat of a red herring,” Ms. Everett-Allen said. “Sales declined in 2020 but prices increased due to inflation and the weak Turkish lira. Construction costs are also rising due to tight supply chains.”

A total of 13 countries, primarily developed nations, registered double-digit annual price growth. Those include New Zealand (22%), the U.S. (13%), Sweden (13%), Austria (12%), Canada (10.8%) and the U.K. (10.2%).

“Homeowners in these developed nations have also seen some of the largest rates of accrued savings. For some, this may mean they now have a deposit for their first home, or enable existing homeowners to upgrade,” Ms. Everett-Allen said.

For example, the Bank of England estimates that U.K. householders have amassed some £250 billion (US$354 billion) in savings since the start of the pandemic, she said.

Wary of potential housing bubbles, some countries have adopted market-cooling measures to curb the rapid price growth since January. China, New Zealand and Ireland introduced higher stamp duties for investment properties.

China is also considering a national vacancy tax or property tax, as is Canada.

Home prices in China, excluding Hong Kong, rose 4.3% year over year in the first quarter, while Ireland home prices increased 3.7% during the same period.

However, not all countries experienced a housing boom in the first quarter. Four countries saw their housing prices drop from a year ago, including Malaysia (-0.9%), Morocco (-1.2%), India (-1.6%) and Spain (-1.8%), according to the report.

Reprinted by permission of Mansion Global. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: June 2, 2021



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Stronger demand in some areas is pushing unit rents up faster than houses

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Renters are returning to the apartment market, leading to higher growth in weekly rents for units than houses over the past year, according to REA data. As workers return to their corporate offices, tenants are coming back to the inner city and choosing apartment living for its affordability.

This is a reversal of the pandemic trend which saw many renters leave their inner city units to rent affordable houses on the outskirts. Working from home meant they did not have to commute to the CBD, so they moved into large houses in outer areas where they could enjoy more space and privacy.

REA Group economic analyst Megan Lieu said the return to apartment living among tenants began in late 2021, when most lockdown restrictions were lifted, and accelerated in 2022 after Australia’s international border reopened.

Following the reopening of offices and in-person work, living within close proximity to CBDs has regained importance,” Ms Lieu said.Units not only tend to be located closer to public transport and in inner city areas, but are also cheaper to rent compared to houses in similar areas. For these reasons, it is unsurprising that units, particularly those in inner city areas, are growing in popularity among renters.

But the return to work in the CBD is not the only factor driving demand for apartment rentals. Rapidly rising weekly rents for all types of property, coupled with a cost-of-living crisis created by high inflation, has forced tenants to look for cheaper accommodation. This typically means compromising on space, with many families embracing apartment living again. At the same time, a huge wave of migration led by international students has turbocharged demand for unit rentals in inner city areas, in particular, because this is where many universities are located.

But it’s not simply a demand-side equation. Lockdowns put a pause on building activity, which reduced the supply of new rental homes to the market. People had to wait longer for their new houses to be built, which meant many of them were forced to remain in rental homes longer than expected. On top of that, a chronic shortage of social housing continued to push more people into the private rental market. After the world reopened, disrupted supply chains meant the cost of building increased, the supply of materials was strained, and a shortage of labour delayed projects.

All of this has driven up rents for all types of property, and the strength of demand has allowed landlords to raise rents more than usual to help them recover the increased costs of servicing their mortgages following 13 interest rate rises since May 2022. Many applicants for rentals are also offering more rent than advertised just to secure a home, which is pushing rental values even higher.

Tenants’ reversion to preferring apartments over houses is a nationwide trend that has led to stronger rental growth for units than houses, especially in the capital cities, says Ms Lieu. “Year-on-year, national weekly house rents have increased by 10.5 percent, an increase of $55 per week,” she said.However, unit rents have increased by 17 percent, which equates to an $80 weekly increase.

The variance is greatest in the capital cities where unit rents have risen twice as fast as house rents. Sydney is the most expensive city to rent in today, according to REA data. The house rent median is $720 per week, up 10.8 percent over the past year. The apartment rental median is $650 per week, up 18.2 percent. In Brisbane, the median house rent is $600 per week, up 9.1 percent over the past year, while the median rent for units is $535 per week, up 18.9 percent. In Melbourne, the median house rent is $540 per week, up 13.7 percent, while the apartment median is $500 per week, up 16.3 percent.

In regional markets, Queensland is the most expensive place to rent either a house or an apartment. The house median rent in regional Queensland is $600 per week, up 9.1 percent year-onyear, while the apartment median rent is $525, up 16.7 percent.

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