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House Price Boom As Global Property Market Rebounds

Homeowners were unaware then that disaster was about to strike as the global economy shuddered and nosedived into recession.

The slump lasted two years, and the price of homes has gradually recovered to reach values last seen in the last three months of 2006.

Average house prices fuelled by a stamp duty holiday have recently shattered the UK’s property value glass ceiling set more than ten years ago.

The price of an average home hit a record £271,434.

Britain is not alone as house prices go through the roof.

The Knight Frank Global House Price Index for the first three months of the year shows average values soared by 7.3 per cent across the 56 countries monitored by the firm.

The question for homeowners and property investors is this time different, and should we expect a boom or bust?

Here we look at the housing market in the top ten destinations for British expats to try and throw some light on what might happen.


House prices in Australia have risen by 12.3 per cent in the past year.

The major cities of Sydney, Canberra, Hobart and Darwin have seen prices soar by up to 20 per cent, says the latest house price report from property website Domain.

Australia is the number one destination for British expats, with 1.3 million choosing to make the country home.

The average Australian home costs £508,000, with properties in Sydney valued even higher at £750,000 – going up £638 a day in the three months to the end of June. Values are at an all-time high.

In the second quarter of the year, property values surged by 8.2 per cent.

Canberra saw even steeper rises, with a 10.4 per cent increase in Q2 2021, followed by Darwin, where home values rose 8.9 per cent.


The Spanish property market has suffered from a double-pronged attack from Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.

The Brexit effect means British buyers without a right to settle must jump through several administrative hoops to gain a residence permit or are limited to staying in Europe for 90 days in any 180 days.

Coronavirus has forced foreign buyers to stay away. The result is a 21 per cent decline in British home purchases in the first three months of the year compared with the same period last year.

Time will tell, but Brexit may see many British expats sell up to return home. Spain has a British expat population of 761,000, of whom around half draw the state pension. The number of Brits in Spain is second only to those in Australia.

According to data from Standard & Poor’s, the price of an average Spanish home will drop 1.4 per cent this year.

While house prices in most of the world’s largest economies are rising, Spain is deemed the worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with a GDP slump of 12.8 per cent.

United States

Not every American lives in a million-dollar gated mansion in the palm-fringed Los Angeles suburb of Beverley Hills or a plush apartment overlooking Central Park in New York.

The average house price is a modest £215,458 – nearly £50,000 cheaper than the average British property.

Nevertheless, US house prices have put on 16.7 per cent in value in the year to July and are expected to keep rising for at least the next 12 months by at least another 12 per cent.

The US is home to 678,000 British expats.

The economy and pandemic feature less prominently in the minds of US homeowners, says a consumer trends report from property portal Zillow.

The research reveals 15 per cent

 have plans to move in the next three years, saying they want to live closer to family, plan to have children or don’t like their neighbourhoods.


Canada has a British expat population of more than 600,000 and offers a less in-your-face lifestyle than the US, with all the advantages of sitting on the doorstep of one of the world’s top economies.

Average house prices are following the trend of other major economies by rising more than 38 per cent in a year.

The value of an average home is £396,650 – down from £412,000 in March, says the Canadian Real Estate Association data.

Like the UK, the market seems to have peaked and slowed since the spring.

Canada has a two-speed market, with values falling in the middle and west while rising as much as 9 per cent in Newfoundland, on the east coast.

However, estate agents say the home sales level is falling, and the trend looks to continue over the coming months.


In recent years, homeowners in Ireland have had a tough time with the market struggling to climb back to pre-credit crisis levels then hit by a sucker-punch from the coronavirus pandemic.

Ireland has always had a pull for British expats due to family ties and lying just 80 miles away from the UK.

The expat population of 280,000 enjoy the privilege of visa-free travel between the UK and Ireland, which means the 90 in 180 days visa rule doesn’t apply.

According to the Central Statistics Office, house prices have seen a modest increase the year to the end of May, rising 5.5 per cent, up 0/.9 per cent from 4.6 per cent in the year to April.

The most expensive homes are in Dublin, with an average price of £529,000 in the Dublin 10 postcode. The cheapest homes were in Castlerea, County Roscannon, with an average price of £72,000.

The CSO explains that home prices in Ireland are languishing 13.5 per cent lower than they were in 2007 when they reached a peak.

New Zealand

New Zealand has searing hot house prices for a cool country due to the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic that has seen the costs of borrowing plummet.

Homes are becoming seriously unaffordable.

More than 15,000 homes sold for more than a million dollars (£509,000) in the past year compared to 5,000 in 2020, says the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand’s (REINZ) Million Dollar Price Report.

New Zealand’s housing market is rampant, with sellers looking for top dollar for their homes and plenty of buyers ready to make a purchase.

The government has tried to put a brake on by taxing buy to let investors and making flipping homes more difficult to no avail.

The central bank has warned too many people are taking borrowing risks and that house prices are unsustainable.

New Zealand has a population of 215,000 British expats.

South Africa

House prices in South Africa are on the move after five years stuck in a rut.

The latest house price statistics from First National Bank for April show a 4.6 per cent year-on-year increase, slightly up from 4.5 per cent the month before.

Too few buyers with too many homes to choose from has led to lower prices.

The market seems ready to tilt the other way, with new home starts down 40 per cent in a year and developers pulling back on asking for planning permission.

Although house price rises are disappointing, they are going up at the fastest rate since the end of 2016.

Around 215,000 British expats live in South Africa, and most are homeowners.

The average home now costs £61,500.


France has seen house prices increase across the board for five years in a row.

Average home prices vary – from £288,000 in the Mediterranean city of Toulon to £145,000 in Amiens in the north.

Values jumped by 5.8 per cent last year and now stand at the highest level since the final quarter of 2011.

Official data shows prices have soared by more than 70 per cent since March 2000.

The trend is good news for the 200,000 British expats who can see the value of their homes rising.

Estate agents and lawyers forecast prices will keep rising, but at a pegged-back rate of around 3.5 per cent over the next 12 months.


Germany is the European property price hotspot, with prices rising meteorically.

However, buying a home is less prevalent in Germany than in the UK and many other countries. Most Germans are long-term renters.

Economists describe the market as a ‘wall of money’ with institutional investors piling in to build rental portfolios.

The value of an apartment has risen by nine per cent in a year, says price monitor immoscout24.

This year, Cologne has seen the most significant boost in prices, with apartment listings attracting ten buyers a week despite costs increasing by 6.6 per cent. Elsewhere, house prices are rising slowly, but still at a rate of 4.5 per cent plus.

Around 115,000 British expats live in Germany.


The economy in Portugal has suffered in recent years, and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has not helped recovery.

House prices dropped 1.6 per cent in 2020, compared with a 7.6 per cent rise a year earlier.

Now is an excellent time to buy a home for the 60,000 British expats, especially those retiring to Portugal taking advantage of the retirement golden visa.

Prices are higher in the capital Lisbon, but the rate of increase is slowing down. Expat locations like Faro and Albufeira are also among the most expensive places to buy a home in Portugal.

Buyers can expect to pay between £150,000 for a single bedroom apartment and £760,000 for a four-bedroom villa.

Global Housing Market FAQ

Why are home prices quoted by the square metre in many countries?

Giving a price per square metre is a better way to compare the value of two or more homes. The price is based on size and location.

Can British expats buy a home anywhere?

No. Some countries have restrictions on who can own land and the homes built on the plot. For example, Thailand and The Philippines do not allow foreign ownership except with collaboration with a local. Sometimes you can work around land-owning restrictions by leasing a home.

Are house price statistics comparable for each country?

No, they are a guide rather than a comparison. Issues like timing and the size of data samples make comparisons difficult. For instance, the data for one country may relate to 2020, while statistics from another may have been issued in June 2021.

Where are property prices rising the fastest?

According to the latest Global House Price Index from property consultants Knight Frank, prices rose at 32 per cent over the past year in Turkey.

Where are property prices falling?

Italy, Spain and India have all seen prices fall by around 1.6 per cent in 2021, mainly due to the economic effects of the coronavirus lockdown.

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