Mar 21, 2014

Despite modest economic growth, inflation-adjusted home prices in Singapore slipped 0.9 percent in 2013 following a 1.13 percent dip in 2012, according to a survey from Global Property Guide.

This trend reverses annual price growths of 0.9 percent, 13.06 percent and 2.59 percent in 2011, 2010 and 2009 respectively. Nevertheless, Savills expects residential prices in the city-state to remain flat or rise by as much as two percent this year.

Interestingly, the price decline occurred in spite of Singapore's modest economic growth of 3.7 percent last year. Its GDP also grew by 1.3 percent in 2012, 5.2 percent in 2011 and a stunning 14.8 percent in 2010, up from -0.8 percent in 2009. Based on IMF forecasts, the country's economy could expand by about 3.4 percent this year and another 3.6 percent in 2015.

On the other hand, residential price growth in most parts of the world gained momentum in 2013, especially in the US and Asia Pacific, revealed the survey of official global home price statistics. Using inflation-adjusted figures, the study revealed that prices increased in 27 of 42 residential markets which published official housing data. In comparison, the more upbeat non-adjusted figures showed that home prices climbed in 31 countries and dropped in only 11 nations.

All 20 major US cities saw home prices rise, with Las Vegas registering the biggest inflation-adjusted year-on-year increase of 23.7 percent in 2013. Construction activity remained upbeat, demand continued to increase, while the economy stayed healthy.

In New Zealand, median home prices rose by 8.02 percent in 2013 after increasing 8.54 percent in 2012. Likewise, Australia's housing market saw its best performance in four years. Home prices in eight major cities climbed 6.47 percent last year.

Meanwhile, Asian housing markets remain upbeat. In Taiwan, home prices nearly doubled to 14.46 percent in 2013 from just 7.72 percent in the previous year.

In Shanghai, the price index of second-hand residential buildings jumped by 10.13 percent in 2013, a sharp contrast to the 1.85 percent dip in 2012.

In the Philippines, the average price of three-bedroom condo units in Makati's central business district surged by 10.56 percent in 2013, up from the previous year's 4.85 percent gain.

Over in Indonesia, residential property prices in 14 of the largest cities rose by 5.82 percent in 2013, an improvement from the 2.27 percent hike previously.

The housing markets in the Middle East also remained strong. After two years of spectacular price growth, Dubai's market continued upwards, with home prices soaring by 21.52 percent in 2013, after rising 21.64 percent in 2012 and 6.3 percent in 2011.

Likewise, the average price of owner-occupied homes in Israel rose by 4.61 percent in 2013, after a 4.12 percent gain in 2012.

Beyond the Straits of Bosporus and Dardanelles, half of Europe is booming. In Tallinn, Estonia, the average purchase price of homes surged 16.55 percent in 2013, far higher than the 1.59 percent growth seen in 2012.

In Vienna, Austria, the residential property price index rose by 7.51 percent in 2013, its sixth straight year of continuous growth.

Other European housing markets that saw strong price growth include Ireland, with home prices rising by 6.18 percent in 2013, Turkey (5.73 percent), UK (4.88 percent), Riga in Latvia (4.64 percent), and Iceland (4.33 percent). Excluding Austria and Turkey, all of these markets fared better in 2013 compared to the previous year.

In addition, some in Europe saw modest to minimal price gains. This group includes Sweden, with house prices rising by 3.98 percent in 2013, Germany (3.69 percent), Switzerland (3.24 percent), Vilnius in Lithuania (2.41 percent), Ukraine's Kiev (1.63 percent), and Bulgaria (0.38 percent). All, except Ukraine, posted higher price growths last year compared to 2012.
However, Romania was the world's weakest housing market in 2013, with prices plunging by 10.43 percent after a drop of 5.96 percent the year before.

Nevertheless, the report concluded that "the global house price boom continues to gather pace, with most countries back to their pre-crisis levels. House prices are rising in many more countries than not, and the momentum trend is strongly upwards".

Info courtesy -