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Moving abroad – Housing price changes around the world

Moving abroad – Housing price changes around the world

If you’ve decided that you want to move abroad, but aren’t sure where to, there are many factors you may consider before relocating. Which country has the best quality of life? What language do they speak? And the all-important: what is the local cuisine like? One factor that may be vital in influencing your decision is the housing price trends in each country.

After all, if you’re planning on buying, as opposed to renting, you need to be sure you can afford a house in the country you decide to live in. The bad news, according to research conducted by real estate consultancy Knight Frank, is that house prices globally rose last year at their fastest rate for almost three years.

Knight Frank’s Global House Price Index (GHPI) reports that property prices around the world increased by 6% on average in 2016, up from 4.1% the year before. So, if you’ve been putting off that move abroad, you may want to get your skates on before they rise again!

Here are the countries with the biggest changes in housing price last year:

Destinations with the biggest housing price increase

1. Iceland

Renting prices in Iceland have been high for the past few years but it now leads the house price rankings for the first time. This makes it an expensive place to live for renters and buyers alike. If you’re thinking of relocating to Iceland, be warned that house prices increased 14.7% on average in 2016 due to a strengthening economy.

2. New Zealand

With its lush green scenery and use of the English language, New Zealand has long been a popular destination for expats, particularly from the UK, but with the fastest rising house prices among major developed countries and increase of 12.7%, it could become an unaffordable destination in the near future.

3. Malta

Malta’s sunny climate, grasp of English and low tax jurisdiction make it an expat’s dream, which is why it has such a large expat community. This could also be attributed to the historically low cost of housing compared to major European countries, but this could be set to change with Malta’s housing prices increasing by 12.4% in 2016.

4. Canada

According to HSBC, 66% of expats asked said their quality of living in Canada was better than in their home country and when it comes to the cost of living, house prices can be comparatively cheaper too, with expats finding they often get substantially more for their money. However, 2016 saw a rise in house prices of 12.3%, so this may not always be the case.

5. Turkey

Although not traditionally one of the most popular expat destinations, Turkey’s low cost of living can be appealing to some. However, being able to buy property as an expat in Turkey depends on whether a Turkish national could buy property in your country of origin. Turkey has dropped down from 1st place in the GHPI, so now may be the time for expats to make that move.

Destinations with the biggest decrease in housing price

1. Ukraine

Expats moving to Ukraine normally find a country of extremes, with heavily industrialised areas interspersed with naturally beautiful scenery. Due to the political instability in the country, Ukraine’s house prices have fallen steadily over the past few years, with a decrease of 10.2% in 2016.

2. Taiwan

Taiwan’s label as the world’s worst property market is really a matter of perspective. For investors and developers, a decrease of 6.5% in 2016 is understandably worrying, but for a potential expat, it could mean it is the perfect time to relocate there and take advantage of low housing prices while they last.  

3. Singapore

Now rated the most expensive city in the world, Singapore is one of the world’s economic powerhouses. It’s also a very popular destination for expats, so with a decrease of 2.6% in property prices in 2016, it could be well worth considering as your country of choice when moving abroad.

4. Cyprus

Cyprus is often a welcome choice for would-be expats, with its sunshine and Mediterranean climate. In 2016, it saw a housing pricing decrease of 1.3%, which indicates that the market may be stabilising after a turbulent six years. As an expat, this could be the perfect time to consider Cyprus when moving abroad, especially when contemplating long-term investment.

Bringing it together

How you interpret the house price changes around the world is purely up to you. Although political and economic volatility is normally responsible for falling house prices, it doesn’t mean that those countries should be discounted.

Similarly, rising house prices in Iceland and New Zealand could be driven by strong immigration, relatively low interest rates and a scarcity of houses. So, whilst the likes of New Zealand may be a popular expat destination, finding affordable housing may be a struggle.

There are many things that should be taken into consideration when moving abroad, and house prices are just one factor. It all boils down to what your own personal needs are. Wherever you choose to go, with the correct budgeting and planning, you can find a home that’s right for you.

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