Thursday, December 30, 2004

Residential-property prices are now falling in Britain and Australia, but have taken off in America and France: "IN THE past three years, the total value of residential property in developed economies has increased by an estimated $20 trillion, to over $60 trillion. Granted, that increase is partly explained by the decline in the dollar; still, it is double the $10 trillion by which global share values climbed in the three years to 1999. Is this the biggest financial bubble in history?

"The growing impact of housing markets on economies prompted The Economist to launch its global house-price indices in early 2002; these now cover 20 countries, using data from lending institutions, estate agents and national statistics. Our latest quarterly update shows that prices have risen over the past year by around 10% or more in 11 of the countries that we track (see table). Top of the league is South Africa, where prices surged by 35% in the year to the third quarter, pushing it into first place ahead of Hong Kong (31%)."

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