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Houses, up and down

An international comparison of house price movement

We recently highlighted state-by-state comparisons of house price appreciation. Today, we’re going international. Thanks to the Bank for International Settlements, we have residential property prices for a selection of countries, in both nominal and real terms. Here we focus on the latter, which show how house prices evolve compared with other prices. We also focus on countries with relatively long sample periods so we can document long-term trends.

The graph above shows data for a set of countries where houses have significantly appreciated over the long haul. It’s not a steady trend (e.g., Hong Kong) and doesn’t last through the whole period (e.g., the U.K.’s “weak” property market over the past 10 years); these patterns highlight the adage that past behavior isn’t necessarily a good predictor of future behavior. The graph below shows a different set of countries where the long-term trend is more mixed, even downward facing. The U.S. is part of this group with its distinct “bubble” that the housing market is still recovering from. Switzerland is surprisingly stagnant despite strong population growth, and Korea is even trending down.

How these graphs were created: Search for “BIS house price,” then click the “real” tag in the side bar. Check the series you want shown, and click “Add to Graph.”

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

View on FRED, series used in this post: QCAR628BIS, QCHR628BIS, QGBR628BIS, QHKR628BIS, QKRR628BIS, QNZR628BIS, QUSR628BIS, QZAR628BIS

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