Financial Times (www.ft.com) adiverte que la subida del precio del dinero en Eurolandia amenaza el “boom inmobiliario”.
A juicio de FT, de trata de una amenaza creciente para España y Francia, en particular.
Eurozone rates ‘threaten Europe’s housing boom’
By Ralph Atkins in Frankfurt and Scheherazade Daneshkhu in London
Published: March 8 2006 02:00 | Last updated: March 8 2006 02:00
Rising eurozone interest rates could spell the end of the “great European housing boom”, even if a property price crash is unlikely, according to a report issued yesterday.
This year appears likely to see a “marked reduction” in house price growth across Europe, the UK’s Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reported. Second homes around the Mediterranean, many bought by northern Europeans, “have the highest risk of price falls”.
The report highlights the potential impact of moves by the European Central Bank to raise borrowing costs from historic lows. The Frankfurt-based bank, which has become more worried about house prices in some eurozone regions in recent months, raised its main interest rates by a quarter percentage point in December and again last week, to 2.5 per cent. Analysts think interest rates could reach 3 per cent by the end of the year.
France and Spain saw double-digit house price growth again last year, according to the RICS. Spain’s housing surge started in 1998, since when national prices have risen by about 120 per cent in real terms.
But Michael Ball, professor of property economics at Reading University and the report’s author, said the centre of gravity of Europe’s house price inflation seemed to be heading north.
The fastest growth rates last year were in Estonia and Denmark – both outside the 12-country eurozone – which saw rates of 28 per cent and 22 per cent.
The RICS study said that ECB interest rates could be the most crucial factor determining the eurozone housing outlook. “If the ECB does follow expectations and raise interest rates further, the implications for European housing markets could be substantial. The end of the boom may be in sight,” the report concluded.
The areas most vulnerable to price falls would be those in which investors have looked for speculative gains, such as second homes or city “hot spots”, but the RICS report argues that generally “unwinding these holding positions is unlikely to have much impact at the national level”.
The housing market in the UK – also not in the eurozone – experienced the biggest slowdown in Europe last year, sending the country towards the bottom of the year’s European league table of house price inflation, according to the RICS.
UK house price growth slowed to 3 per cent last year against a 12 per cent rise in 2004, after the Bank of England raised its main interest rate five times between November 2003 and August 2004. The UK slid to 14th place in the league table in 2005, down from joint third with Ireland in 2004.