2005-01-28

Stats & Money: UK Housing Market slips to 3rd Place

Britain has been 'knocked off its top spot' in the European house price inflation table as France takes its place. Overall, Continental Europe saw a housing market 'surge' over 2004. France, Ireland and Spain saw double digit house price inflation throughout 2004. The UK is the only country in the study to see its new mortgage market falter, after interest rate rises in the middle of 2004. The German housing market remains flat, although there are signs of it reviving at the end of 2004. France topped Europe's house price inflation table, followed by Spain, which slipped into second place, and then the UK and Ireland, according to 'The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors'' 'European Housing Market Review'. The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Austria occupy the bottom of the table, with Greece in bottom place. The UK's six-month market slowdown is likely to lower Britain's house price inflation rate even further, said the report, after five interest rate rises since 2003-11. According to RICS' economist, Mr.Milan Khatri,
'Low interest rates have been the principal driver of rising house prices in many countries, despite some quite moderate economic performances.
'Any sustained increase in interest rates takes "the steam out" of markets, as seen in the UK over the last year'.
Author of the report, Mr.Michael Ball added,
'The future of Europe's housing markets is closely linked to interest rates.
'Some countries have clearly unsustainable house price growth rates, while others are still weak'.
'Britain knocked off housing top spot', Yahoo! Business News, 2005-01-28,10:45, Fr

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