China leads global house price index for first time in a decade

While Australia crashes

Shenzhen Bay. askarim/Shutterstock

China has claimed the top spot of Knight Frank’s Global House Price Index for the first time since 2010.

The quarterly index, which tracks average residential prices from official figures across 56 countries, saw China growing 10.9 percent annually in the year to the second quarter of 2019.

This marks the lowest-ranking top performer on the index since the first quarter of 2009. China vaulted to the summit while previous leaders Slovenia and Latvia decelerated to a 12-month growth of 8.4 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively.

The annual growth rate of all 56 locations averaged at just 3.4 percent, continuing six consecutive quarters of slowdown. “From trade wars (US/China and Japan/South Korea) to Brexit, from political protests to weakening economic forecasts, headwinds are mounting and weighing on buyer sentiment despite a raft of interest rate cuts in the last three months,” Knight Frank explained.

More: What the US-China trade ceasefire means for real estate

Outside China, Taiwan and India had Asia’s fastest-growing home prices, leaping 8.4 percent and 7.7 percent in the year to Q2 2019.

Australia fell last on the ranking with a negative annual growth of 7.4 percent in residential values. “However, with two interest rate cuts this year, new lending stimulus in place and prices bottoming out, we expect Australia to rise up the rankings in the second half of 2019,” the consultancy predicted.

Australia is one of only four locations in the index to have registered a decline in annual prices. Morocco prices crashed by 0.8 percent in the 12 months to Q2 2019, as did prices in Italy (-0.8 percent) and Finland (-2.6 percent).