New Report: Trends in the European Residential Property Market

The year 2009 saw a patchy recovery for the property market in Europe as a whole. This is the conclusion of CEPI new report on the European residential property market in 2009. In the first part, we look at housing and the economic crisis. Part two deals with the residential market in 2009 which we see as a "patchwork" loosely composed of four patches or groups. The first group saw prices rise in 2009, the second saw large falls in prices, the third group in Eastern Europe experienced mixed fortunes, and the fourth group in Western Europe is made up of countries in which the movements in prices were more moderate, and some markets were stable. 

At the beginning of 2009 the difficulties in the financial sector and related problems which affected the market in 2008 were still evident. How and to what extent did these problems continue to weigh on the market in different countries? European countries were not affected by the crisis equally and the road to recovery proved to be longer for some countries than for others. At the end of 2009 some countries continued to face serious problems whilst others saw their markets recover. In those countries where prices continued to fall, those falls were in some cases substantial, in spite of low, sometimes historically record low, interest rates in most countries.

The recovery in 2009 from the problems of the previous year was very patchy, resulting in a patchwork effect of countries, some experiencing difficulties resulting from common problems, others less so. There were some large patches in the patchwork, for example the Baltic States which were badly affected. Although Ireland and Spain differ in many ways, they also suffered similar problems which badly affected their markets. In other countries there were signs of recovery. Notably in some countries in Northern Europe (Finland, Sweden and Norway) there were even price increases.

It remains difficult to talk about the European housing market as a unified whole. CEPI considers some of the differences between markets in 2009 and also looks at some of the possible reasons for them. As in previous years it remains evident that there many different ways of recording price changes, and that the reliability of the statistics quoted varies greatly from country to country.

Overall 2009 was another challenging year for property professionals, particularly estate agents, who faced a tough and rapidly changing market. CEPI highlights the importance of professionalism in a difficult market, and emphasizes the need in the property market for well qualified and educated professionals able to deal with challenging times.

Read the full report here.