House prices more globally in sync: report

Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent
(Australian Associated Press)

 

It appears Australia was not alone in dealing with the stresses of booming house markets in two of its major cities, Sydney and Melbourne.

A new analysis by the International Monetary Fund has found house prices are showing a greater tendency to move in tandem across countries and major global cities, or what it calls the “synchronicity of global house prices”.

This could be the result of a greater exposure to global financial markets among advanced economies or the attractiveness of financial returns from property to global investors.

The IMF says rising house prices have been a feature of the economic recovery in many countries since the global financial crisis.

Recent increases have also been occurring in a low-interest rate environment in many advanced economies.

“This does raise the spectre of financial instability should financial conditions reverse and simultaneously lead to a decline in house prices,” the Washington-based institution warns.

“Thus, policymakers cannot ignore the possibility that shocks to house prices elsewhere may affect domestic markets.”

For example, a new policy to limit house purchases in one city or country may simply steer foreign buyers elsewhere.

In such a case, there is a role for greater national and international coordination, it says.

The report covers 40 countries and 44 major cities in both advanced and emerging economies and is part of the IMF’s soon to be released Global Financial Stability Report.

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