Global house price downturn fades, most markets to rise in 2024

Photo by Owen Lystrup on Unsplash
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The recent downturn in global property prices is mostly over with average home prices in major markets now expected to fall less than anticipated at the start of the year and rise into 2024, according to a Reuters poll of property analysts.

Double-digit price falls that the analysts forecast earlier this year due to rising mortgage rates haven’t materialised in full as higher household savings, tight supply and rising immigration limited declines.

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Sharply higher mortgage rates, as a result of more than a year of interest rate rises by key central banks, haven’t affected everyone, either.

Many home owners who locked in cheap mortgages during a long period of near-zero rates, particularly in the United States, have decided to stay put. That has restricted supply and housing market activity.

But that’s more bad news for aspiring first-time homebuyers left on the sidelines for years by tight supply and priced out during the COVID pandemic when existing home owners outbid them, pushing up house prices at double-digit annual rates.

The latest poll results – particularly for economies with the fastest house price inflation in recent years such as the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia – challenge the assumption the next move from most central banks will be to cut rates.

Indeed, much of the optimism around the unexpected early stabilisation in these markets has stemmed from speculation interest rates have topped out and that as soon as the first half of next year, they’ll be coming down again.

The Aug 14-31 Reuters poll of over 130 housing analysts covering property markets in the U.S., Britain, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and India showed analysts broadly upgrading their forecasts for this year and next. China is a notable exception to the optimism.