NEW DELHI: Is India’s real estate bubble finally bursting? The International Monetary Fund’s recently-launched data series on global housing prices hints at that. Among 52 major markets for which IMF has collated house price data, India has witnessed the steepest fall.
IMF’s calculation on the annual percentage change in property prices shows that prices in India fell by 9.1 per cent, the highest among major real estate markets. The fall is even worse than in countries struggling with the ongoing European Union’s financial crisis. Property prices in Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Spain and Portugal have all come down, but at a much slower rate. Ireland, on the other hand, registered a 4.3 per cent increase in housing prices.
Prices came down by 7 per cent in Greece, 6.5 per cent in Italy, 4.9 per cent in Spain and 3.3 per cent in Portugal. The annual change is calculated for latest available data or prices for the last quarter of 2013.
The data shows that there is an overall improvement in the global real estate market as prices are going up in a majority of countries. Of the 52 countries for which data is available, 33 have witnessed increase in prices, while property has become cheaper in 19.
Slump in Russia too
Among advanced economies, the US, Germany and UK witnessed an increase in prices whereas the property market seems to be slumping in France, Japan and Italy. Among larger emerging economies, China, Brazil and South Africa saw a rise in prices, while India and Russia face a sinking realty sector.
The IMF website states that the new data series released in June this year is aimed at keeping track of property boom-and-bust cycles. Boom-bust cycles in housing prices have predated many banking crises in recent times.
Global Property Guide, one of the IMF’s sources for real estate data, also confirms the downward trend of India’s housing market. The organization, which collates real estate data from across the world, links this to high interest rates and slow GDP growth.
India’s own National Housing Bank (NHB) Residex index shows a mixed trend in Q1 2014, with 13 of the 26 cities for which property price data was available witnessing an increase in prices and 13 registering declines. Global Property Guide’s analysis of India says that because of high inflation, a comparison of house prices at nominal rates might give a misleading result. At inflation-adjusted rates prices, it says, prices have actually fallen in 21 of these 26 cities.
According to Global Real Estate Transparency Index-2014, India’s tier-1 cities’ property market is ranked 40th while tier-2 and tier-3 markets are 42nd and 50th respectively in the world. (Getty Images photo)
Even these numbers might not give a real picture of India’s highly unregulated property market and the problem might be much bigger. According to Global Real Estate Transparency Index-2014, a ‘fairness in property transactions’ ranking complied by a US based real-estate consultancy, India’s property market falls under the semi-transparent category.
Among 102 major real estate markets ranked by the consultancy, India’s tier-1 cities’ property market is ranked 40th while tier-2 and tier-3 markets are 42nd and 50th respectively in the world. All of them are labelled semi-transparent.
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