Tuesday, June 08, 2010

IEIF France and European Property Prices: May 2010

As I have noted before, one of the most interesting and damming bits of evidence that tipped many off to the existence of a significant real estate bubble during the early 2000s was the fact that dramatically increasing property prices were occurring in most industrialized nations.

The U.S., U.K., France, Ireland, most of continental Europe, Canada, Australia and elsewhere were all simultaneously experiencing significant property booms thereby thwarting, more or less, many of the “limited supply” and “Superstar Cities” arguments that sought to justify individual regions explosive appreciation.

Today we know that this massive boom in real estate was more a function of financialization and credit availability rather than fundamentals.

The latest data from the Institut de l'Epargne Immobilière et Foncière (IEIF), a French research and analysis firm, suggests that property prices in France and Europe declined sharply in May dropping roughly 16% and 12% respectively during the month but still remaining notably above the levels seen a year ago.

This significant change is what appeared to be a recovery of sorts could be the sign that credit conditions are tightening as a result of the recent European debt crisis and may foreshadow more trouble to come.