ECONOMY

House prices dip in line with trend

House prices in Greece dipped by 0.62 percent in the first quarter of the year as the credit crunch and inflation weigh on the global housing market, according to researcher Global Property Guide. The drop in housing prices in Greece was smaller than in some other European Union states such as Portugal, where prices fell 4.32 percent year-on-year but more than Spain’s where prices retreated by just 0.55 percent. «Only 13 countries in which dwelling price indices are regularly published saw prices rise during the year to the end of the first quarter 2008, while 21 countries saw prices fall in real terms, that is, after adjusting for inflation,» the Philippines-based company said. «In most countries where house prices are not falling, they are clearly losing momentum,» the company added. Among the reasons cited as contributing to downward price pressure are properties being overpriced based on the price-rent ratio which compares the relationship between the purchase price of a residence with its rental price, the company said. Inflationary pressures that have forced central banks to raise interest rates and overlending by US banks have also played a role in shaping current market conditions. «It seems likely that the world’s house price momentum will continue to move downward,» the Global Property Guide added.