House prices across Europe: rising and rising…

Getting on to the property ladder has not become easier for first-time buyers as house prices continue to rise across the EU. But which Member States saw the biggest hike, and which countries are the ‘laggards’ in terms of price growth? We bring you up to speed with the latest data Eurostat published yesterday.

​In the third quarter of 2019, house prices rose by 4.1% compared to the same period of the previous year in both the EU and the euro area. Interestingly, properties became more expensive in all Member States, with annual growth rates ranging from 0.4% to 13.5%. There were four countries – Latvia, Slovakia, Luxembourg and Portugal –, where prices grew by more than 10 percent. At the other end, property prices saw but a marginal increase in Italy, and rose moderately in Finland and the United Kingdom.

Compared to the second quarter of 2019, prices rose by 1.5% in the EU overall, but there were a handful of Member States – Cyprus, Hungary, Denmark, Italy and Finland –, where they fell by various degrees.

Long-term trends

House prices and rents in the EU have followed very different paths since the financial crisis. While rents increased steadily between 2007 and the third quarter of 2019, house prices have fluctuated significantly.

After an initial sharp decline following the crisis, house prices remained more or less stable between 2009 and 2014. Then there was a rapid rise in early 2015, and since then house prices have increased at a much faster pace than rents.

Between 2007 and the third quarter of 2019, rents increased by 21.0% and house prices by 19.1%. In this period, prices rose in 22 Member States and fell in six, with the highest rises in Austria (+85.5%), Luxembourg (+80.6%) and Sweden (+80.3%). The largest decreases were seen in Greece (-40.0%), Romania (-27.2%) and Ireland (-16.7%).

For rents, the pattern was different with increases in all Member States, except Greece and Cyprus. The countries where rents rose at the highest rate were Lithuania (+101.1%), Czechia (+78.6%) and Hungary (+67.8%).

Called The House Price Index, Eurostat’s statistics measure the price changes of all residential properties, both new-build homes and existing ones. Greece is missing from some of the reports as the EU’s statistical office did not have the latest data for the country.