Global house prices increased by 1.8% in the year to March according to the latest report from Knight Frank, with house prices in 25 of the 50 countries showing flat or negative growth, compared to only 18 countries a year earlier. Asia remains the top-performing continent, recording 8.4% growth over the last 12 months, down from 17.8% a year earlier while the weakest region was North America, which saw a fall of 0.4% in values.

Overall these figures represent an improvement on 12 months earlier when house prices on average had fallen 4.1% in the preceding 12 months. The strongest performing countries were Hong Kong (24.2%), India (21.9%) and Taiwan (14.3%).

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Liam Bailey, Head of Residential Research at Knight Frank, said: ‘A cursory glance at the results table would suggest it’s business as usual, with Asian countries firmly implanted at the top of the table and both Europe and North America languishing behind. But there are a few less predictable results.

‘House prices in Russia, for example, fell 13.7% in the first three months of this year positioning it below Ireland in the rankings. On the other hand, France has jumped to 6th place in the rankings, up from 30th a year earlier.

‘The efforts on the part of Asian governments to cool house price inflation in the past year have been largely successful, although the latest figures suggest Hong Kong’s housing market is proving less responsive. Back in Europe, the PIGS economies (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) are displaying a mixed picture. Spain is still struggling with a significant fall of 2.5% in the last quarter, although this poor performance is overshadowed by Ireland’s 4.5% decline over the same period. Interestingly, Greece and Portugal are showing signs of improvement with prices rising in the last quarter, which is surprising given their economic backdrop.’

Knight Frank also said it expects the global slowdown to continue, assuming the Asian markets continue to cool and the government intervention is successful – but with a slow recovery in global house prices taking place in 2012.

Top 30 performing countries by house price performance, according to Knight Frank Q1 2011

Hong Kong
India
Taiwan
Israel
Singapore
France
Poland
China
Norway
Malaysia
Belgium
Switzerland
Latvia
Indonesia
Slovenia
Denmark
Canada
Finland
Turkey
Iceland
Colombia
Jersey
Luxembourg
Austria
Estonia
Sweden
Germany
Australia
United Kingdom
South Africa

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