10.8pc plunge in Irish house prices
House prices in Ireland are falling at a double-digit rate but property values in other countries are showing signs of stabilising, research indicated today.
The average cost of a home in Ireland dropped by 10.8pc during 2010 as the market suffered from the fall-out of the country's economic problems, according to estate agent Knight Frank.
The drop was the biggest recorded for the total of nearly 50 countries looked at by the group. The pace of the falls are also showing little sign of easing, with property losing 3.5pc of its value during the final quarter alone.
Steep price falls were also seen in Dubai, with property values diving by 6.1pc during the third quarter of 2010, the latest quarter for which figures are available.
But there was better news for those who have bought second homes in France, with house prices in the country actually rising by 9.5pc during 2010.
The more conservative French mortgage market means that house prices have been hit less hard by the credit crunch than in some other countries.
House prices were also only 1.4pc lower in Italy at the end of 2010 than at the beginning of the year, with the pace of decline easing to just 0.3pc during the final quarter.
Property values in Spain, which has seen a severe house price correction, also showed signs of stabilising during the fourth quarter, edging down by 0.4pc to leave them 3.5pc down for the year, while the cost of a home in Portugal dropped by 4pc during 2010.
Hong Kong saw the strongest annual house price growth of 20pc, followed by Latvia at 16.9pc, and Israel at 16.2pc.
The UK came 31st out of 49 countries, with prices edging ahead by 0.7pc during the whole of 2010 but falling by 2.5pc during the final three months of the year.
Overall, Knight Frank said global house prices had risen by 2.8pc during 2010.
Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank, said: "This annual figure hides the fact that a growing number of countries are seeing negative quarterly price movements.
"In the second quarter of 2010 the proportion of countries in our index recording negative quarterly growth was less than a third at 31pc, in the third quarter the figure was 35pc, in our most recent fourth quarter figures the proportion is 41pc.
"Across an increasing number of European countries and also in the US, markets were weaker in the second half of 2010, following a brief revival in the previous 12 months."