Globally, house prices continue a slow recovery, according to The Global House Price Index, released by IMF in December. The Index, an equally weighted average of real house prices in nearly 60 countries, inched up slowly during the past two years but has not yet returned to pre-crisis levels.
If prices went up in The United States, Colombia and Spain, in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Peru they decreased. The areas with the biggest growth were Qatar, Ireland and Hong Kong while the biggest decreases took place in Ucraine, Russia and Latvia.
As noted in previous quarterly reports, the overall index conceals divergent patterns: over the past year, house prices rose in two-thirds of the countries included in the index and fell in the other one-third.
Credit growth has been strong in many countries. As noted in July’s quarterly report, house prices and credit growth have gone hand-in-hand over the past five years. However, credit growth is not the only predictor for the extent of house price growth; several other factors appear to be at play. While in Brazil credit and prices went down, and in Colombia and The United States both grew, in Spain prices grew while credit decreased, and in Mexico priced did not while credit did.
For OECD countries, house prices have grown faster than incomes and rents in almost half of the countries.House price-to income and house price-to-rent ratios are highly correlated, as documented in the previous quarterly report.