Where in the world are house prices rising?

Posted on 19 Oct, 2020

Is Covid’s most unusual side effect rising house prices? Viewber takes a look at the global locations where property markets are proving immune to the pandemic.

When the world first started feeling the effects of Covid-19, no one would have predicted a pandemic would be fuelling the global property market. Several reports by leading institutions, however, cite cheap borrowing, home working and shifting priorities as the key reasons why people are defying lockdown to move home – not just in the UK but across the globe.

In October 2020, The Economist reported that house prices rose in 8 out of 10 high- and middle-income countries in the second quarter of 2020 – for many the most intense period of the pandemic. As we slip into the final quarter of the year, Viewber looks at the incredible appetite for residential property at home and away.


America & Canada

The US is proving to be a mirror of the UK, with headlines about record-low mortgage rates and families leaving cities for the suburbs. The Economist carried the figure that America’s house prices are up 5% on a year ago, although realtor.com’s figures are more bullish. It says a chronic lack of stock – an inventory down 38% when compared to 2019 – is responsible for its average house price shooting up 12.2%, when comparing early October 2019 to early October 2020. The Global Property Guide also highlights strong gains in Canada - a country where house prices in its 11 major cities rose by 5.19% during the year to the second quarter of 2020.

Asia, Pacific & Australasia

Knight Frank’s Global Residential Outlook, published in mid October 2020, paints a positive picture in many parts of Asia Pacific. A highlight was how Singapore saw non-landed private homes sales more than double in the third quarter of 2020.

The Global Property Guide carried complementary news, with house prices continuing to rise in Vietnam, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan, when figures from the second quarter of 2020 were analysed. In Australasia, it is New Zealand leading the house price charge, with median house prices rising by 7.67% (inflation-adjusted) during the year to the second quarter of 2020, according to the same source.

Middle East & Africa

While some countries are enjoying run-away house price rises, others are ticking over but still posting gains. Qatar is one such country, with the Global Property Guide reporting that house prices were up 1.97% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2020. It’s a similar story in South Africa, where Business Insider reports that the average house price has increased by more than 2% in the year to end-of-August 2020.


Figures supplied to the Financial Times by the European Central Bank showed Europe’s Covid-related property slump isn’t a patch on the recession seen in 2014. To substantiate, mortgage lending in the Eurozone dropped below -10 mid 2014, whereas in mid 2020, it sits at +11.

Despite Oxford Economics approximating that house prices fell on a quarterly basis in all major European economies in the three months to June 2020, indicators from the source show interest is already bouncing back. France, Germany, Spain and Greece are all forecast for a recovery in the last quarter of 2020. UBS took a more buoyant stance, reporting that Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine have all posted double-digit price growth over the past 12 months.


Perhaps saving the most eyebrow-raising house price rises for last, we end with the UK. The Nationwide’s latest report revealed house prices climbed at their fastest annual rate since we voted to leave the EU. Prices rose 5% in September 2020, compared with the same month last year, leaving the average house at a record high of £226,129.

Although the rises are part fuelled by home-grown buyers, international interest in the UK is beginning to peak again. Data from Legal & General found there had been a 50% increase in ‘expat not in UK’ searches, of which the majority related to buy-to-let mortgages. With many foreign currencies performing strongly against the pound and overseas buyers able to enjoy our stamp duty holiday, demand is holding firm. International buyers are also mindful of the new 2% stamp duty surcharge that will be added to UK purchases made by overseas investors as of 1st April 2021, with many rushing to complete before this date.

With our network of more than 4,000 Viewbers working across the UK, Viewber is the perfect property partner for those buying from afar. We can visit any ‘for sale’ or ‘to rent’ dwelling in the UK, providing an unbiased property report backed with photographs and videos, if required. We can also produce virtual tours and hold live WhatsApp video viewings for the next best thing to visiting in person. Contact us if you’d like to book a Viewber.

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