Sweden Tops European House Price League

House prices in Sweden are surging ahead of the rest of Europe with the only double-digit year on year increase.

The Scandinavian state saw average house prices leap by 13.7%, according to the latest pan-European statistics available for the end of the third quarter of 2015.

House prices for the European Union showed a 3.1% rise, while those in the Eurozone lagged at 2.3%.

Property price hotspots and not spots

The highest annual increases were:

  • Sweden (13.7%)
  • Austria (9.3%)
  • Ireland (8.9%)
  • Denmark (7.2%)

The largest falls were in:

  • Latvia (-7.6%)
  • Croatia (-3.0%)
  • Italy (-2.3%)
  • France (-1.2%)

Overall, four countries reported annual house price falls, Finland showed no change and the remaining 22 increased. In the European Economic Area, both Norway (6.9%) and Iceland (8.1%) showed increases.

Property prices in Ireland and Spain were encouraging, said Eurostat, the EU statistics body, as both had suffered massive losses after the downturn.

The dip in France follows data from notaires -property lawyers- showing that foreign homebuyers are forsaking the country. Overseas buyers completed 1% of all property sales last year, compared with a high of 2.8% in 2006.

Channel hopper destinations

Numbers have steadily fallen away since then and are not expected to rally in 2016.

For overseas buyers, France is most popular with the British, who snapped up a third of all homes bought by outsiders, followed by the Italians (15%) and Belgians (11%).

Three out of four Britons buy in Normandy and Brittany, within easy striking distance of the Channel ports and home.

Another popular expat destination, Spain, has seen the number of property sales rise for 18 months in a row.

Although more homes are sold, prices are stagnant, say notaires. Although Eurostat says that they prospered by 4.5% by the end of September 2015.

Quarterly house price changes

The highest quarterly increases reported by Eurostat were:

  • Malta (6.2%)
  • Ireland (4.5%)
  • Austria (4.1%)
  • Sweden and the UK (3.9%)

The countries with the largest falls were:

  • Hungary (-5.9%)
  • Slovenia (-3.5%)
  • Estonia (-1.9%)

Quarterly price changes averaged 1.0% for the Eurozone and 1.3% for the European Union.

“House prices in many European countries are still well below their peak and struggling to regain value as the economies of many countries are still bouncing back from the downturn and may take some time to fully recover,” said a Eurostat spokesman.

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