Israel, Australia ranked best performing property markets

By Your Mortgage

Australia's property markets emerged as one of the top performers during the third quarter of 2009, trumping most housing markets in the leading economies according to the latest ranking by Global Property Guide.(

Australia's housing markets recorded a solid price increase of 4.9% year-on-year to end-Q3 2009 with Darwin racking up the biggest growth in prices according to the report. Melbourne and Canberra also recorded strong price gains.

"The upsurge appears to have been partly fuelled by a genuine housing supply shortage. Key interest rates in Australia are now on the rise," it said.

The report also noted that while many housing markets in the world's leading economies remain distressed, Australia and other Asian countries are currently enjoying strong economic growth and high residential property price rises.

Israel took the top spot for the second consecutive quarter, gaining 10.15% over the year to end-Q3 2009, an increase from 8.4% increase over the year to end-Q2 2009.

New Zealand recorded a more modest gain of 2.0% over the year to end-Q3 2009 bringing the median sales prices at mid- 2008 levels according to the report.

Hong Kong's house prices rose by 3.1% over the year to end-Q3 3009, a significant improvement from the 7% decline year-on-year to Q2 2009. During the three months to September, house prices jumped 11.1%. Global Property Guide said this recent performance is causing concern about over-ebullience.

In Singapore overheating is a concern too according to the report. House prices jumped by an all-time record quarterly 14.3% increase (though house prices in Singapore are still down 11.0% over the year). The report noted that Singapore's economy has expanded 0.5% during the year to end-Q3 2009. Its construction and manufacturing sectors are the primary source of growth, having expanded 12.8% and 6.6% (y-o-y), respectively.

The property markets in UK, Canada, Germany, and South Africa have returned to black during Q3 2009 after suffering falls in prices every quarter since 2008.

In the US, Q3 house price rose 3.1% changes were nominally up 3.1% according to the Case-Schiller index, or up 1.2% after inflation. In the UK, house prices rose 3.4% in Q3 according to Nationwide, and 2.1% according to the Land Registry. Global Property Guide noted that the UK house prices have been rallying since May.

On the bright side, the report noted that investors in Dubai, UAE have something to be optimistic about after nominal house price index jumped 7.0% during Q3 2009 - a dramatic turnaround from an 8.0% drop during Q2 2009. "This is the first q-o-q increase since the financial crisis hit the emirate in late 2008. However, over the year to end-Q3 2009, Dubai's nominal house prices are still down by 47.0%," the report said.