Property Alert

US Price Rises

New figures from the US National Association of Realtors (NAR), suggests prices are up by an average of 11 per cent over the year to the end of April 2013. Volumes are up as well but are limited by a lack of supply and a lack of finance.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, summarises, ‘The robust housing market recovery is occurring in spite of tight access to credit and limited inventory.  Without these frictions, existing-home sales easily would be well above the five-million unit pace.’

‘Buyer traffic is 31 per cent stronger than a year ago but sales are running only about 10 per cent higher. It’s become quite clear that the only way to tame price growth to a manageable, healthy pace is higher levels of new home construction.’ More to come.  

Look At Italy?

Property EU’s recent briefing on the Italian property market in London was interesting; asked how they would each spend a theoretical €500 million in the Italian real estate market, experts came up with various suggestions.

Gabriele Pompei at K2Real said, ‘Southern Italy is not just good for shopping centres but for resorts too. Here, returns on investments can be quite high. This would not necessarily be luxury accommodation. Instead, I see potential for student accommodation or care homes with good standards and good facilities.’

Francesco Sanna at K&L Gates’ Milan office said, ‘I would invest in luxury resorts and the public asset development sector. You need to find a very good operator but these sectors are on the rise.’ More on Italy soon.

Portugal – No, Not Yet!

The latest RICS/Ci Portuguese Housing Market Survey (PHMS) is being spun, ever so gently, into a sales pitch in some quarters. I’ve seen one headline that reads, ‘Sales expectations and new instructions both turned positive for the first time since autumn 2010.’

Dig a little deeper and we see that, of those interviewed, 45 per cent more respondents experienced price falls than rises and 39 per cent more respondents believe prices will fall further than rise soon.

RICS’ Josh Miller calls it well, ‘The April survey results point to further early signs of stabilisation in the sales market. However, at this stage we would caution against concluding the market has definitely turned a corner; prices are still falling and the broader economic backdrop remains very weak, with unemployment at 17.5 per cent. Meanwhile, activity in the lettings market appears to have run out of momentum.’

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