Conditions in residential property markets across the globe continue to worsen, according to the latest government and central bank house price data collated by Knight Frank.

Over 80% of the locations monitored in their quarterly survey recorded negative house price growth in the final three months of 2008.

Attempts to gather statistics that reflect an accurate state of the market worldwide is a challenge and Knight Frank warn that the data suffers as a result. ‘To make matters worse,’ they add, ‘we believe that some official figures do not reflect the true extent of the decline in certain countries.’

Head of international residential research Nick Barnes says: ‘Predicting how much further markets will fall during 2009 is virtually impossible. While every market is being buffeted by the contagion effect of the global economic downturn, the scale and the duration of the impact upon individual countries will vary.’

Mr Barnes acknowledges that 2009 is likely to more difficult than 2008 (which had a strong first quarter). ‘However,’ he adds, ‘there is a consensus of hope that the trough of the current cycle will be reached in 2009. At some point, buyers will decide that price falls in many markets represent a once-in-a-generation opportunities that are too good to pass up.’

Greatest price falls in Europe (year-on-year % change)

Latvia: -33.5%
UK: -14.7%
Ireland: -9.1%
Norway: -7.5%
Denmark: -7%
Portugal: -6.3%
Austria: -5.5%
Spain: -3.2%
France: -3.1%

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