How is the European property market performing overall globally?

By : Nick Marr

In 2015, investment pundits predicted that the European property market would continue its strong performance. They were proved right as the housing market in Europe has showed consistent upward momentum that has made investors in the sector quite happy.

In spite of uncertainty over the region’s sluggish economy, the property market remained robust and is registering gradual growth. According to a survey done by the Global Property Guide, Europe’s property markets continue to accelerate, with the region hosting some of the world’s strongest housing markets.

In the survey, Ireland emerged as the world’s top performing property market, with housing prices in the country surging forward by nearly 18% in 2015. Other strong European housing markets that also reported rising house prices include Sweden, Estonia, Iceland and Turkey. It is hoped that these countries will sustain their growth in the sector as the region continues to gain strength economically. While the property market in the majority of the countries in Europe seems robust, the Ukrainian and Russian markets continue to struggle. Ukraine in particular emerged as the weakest housing market in the world, according to the survey referenced above.

Although the UK’s property market showed favourable growth, there are concerns that the results of the upcoming EU referendum could slow its performance. In fact, some of the country’s biggest cities have already recorded a fall in the number of properties sold, and further decline is expected in the run-up to the June 2016 vote. The fall in property sales indicates that investors and property owners are delaying major decisions and are instead opting to wait and see how the referendum pans out. In fact, a recent poll showed that the majority of property investors felt that the UK would be a less attractive place to invest in if it left the EU.

Comparison with other global markets

As Europe’s housing market continues to soldier on, others around the world are not doing as well. Most have weakened dramatically and are characterized by falling house prices. This includes the US and Brazilian markets. The latter country has had a year marked by civil unrest and subdued economic growth and this has had a negative effect on property prices.

The weak housing market is replicated in Asia where countries such as Singapore, China, Indonesia and Vietnam have experienced falling house prices. Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea are some of the countries in the region that have bucked this trend to realise increased property prices.

The Middle Eastern property market is a mixed bag. Dubai, the region’s long-time frontrunner, is currently experiencing a slowdown after posting spectacular performance between 2012 and 2014. Residential property prices fell in 2015 and the construction sector in the country seems to be slowing down a little.

In the meantime, other markets in the Middle East appear to be making progress, key among them being Kuwait and Iran. Regional property investors such as Fahad Alrajaan are hopeful that these lesser-known markets will soon live up to their potential. These property markets are increasingly attracting investors, thanks to some of the countries’ increased economic and political stability, coupled with improving trade relations with the West. Fahad Alrajaan’s Bloomberg page contains more information about the Middle East’s real estate sector.

Future projections

As mentioned before, investors and property owners are waiting to see the results of the EU referendum to determine the next steps with regard to the UK’s housing sector. This might have a profound effect on the European market, since London is home to some prime real estate properties. However, the outlook in the region is largely positive, with investors hoping to make handsome returns on their investments throughout the year.