Chinese cities recorded the strongest mainstream house price growth in 2017 and seen the biggest rise in the prime property market, new research has found.

Price grow by more than 10% in eight Chinese cities in the mainstream market, led by
Chongqing with an increase of 58.9% and only two European cities, Amsterdam and Dublin, made the top 10 with rises of 20.9% and 12.3% respectively.

Vancouver saw annual growth of 16%, New York was up 11.7% and Shanghai up 10.7%. Paris recorded growth of 8.3%, Sydney 5.8% and London just 2.3%, according to the report from international real estate advisor Savills.

Prices were unchanged in Mumbai and Warsaw and fell in Rio de Janeiro by 4.4%, in Stockholm by 5.2%, in Shenzhen and Johannesburg by 6.3% and in Dubai by 7.9%.

In the prime property markets there were more falls than growth, including long established markers such as London, New York, Stockholm and Moscow but values in these cities are still higher than they were ten years ago. San Francisco was the only US city to feature in the top 10.

Chongqing also saw the highest growth in the prime sector at 48.5%, followed by Tianjin at 39.4% and Wuhan at 25.5%. Vancouver, Dublin, San Francisco and Amsterdam also make the top 10 with growth of 16%, 12.6%, 12.3% and 10.7% respectively.

Hong Kong remains world’s most expensive city for prime property at US$4,000 per square foot, followed by Tokyo at US$3,280, London US$1,770 and New York US$1,570.

‘This outperformance by the mainstream housing markets across key world cities is part of a longer term global trend. Prime values rose first and fastest after the global financial crisis, but some are now hitting a high plateau. It’s now the turn of the mainstream markets to play catch up,’ said Yolande Barnes, head of Savills world research.

‘Prime residential markets around the world reacted quickly to quantitative easing by central banks and the consequent yield shift in line with low interest rates. This was a one off yield shift and expectations are that central banks are moving towards raising rates, reducing the potential for price growth,’ she explained.

‘Importantly, while some cities have recorded small falls, we generally don’t expect these to become significant, but we do expect prices to remain relatively stable, on a high plateau for some time, though we will continue to see volatility in oil dependent economies, for example,’ she added.

According to the report cities such as Hong Kong, San Francisco, Sydney and Vancouver, which have now seen strong 10 year growth, are expected to hit a high plateau in the next year or two.

European cities such as Amsterdam, Madrid, Paris and Dublin, where prime residential value growth ranged from 5.1% to 12.6% in 2017, are poised for further price growth, though they too are expected to hit a long term peak within the next five years.

‘With large amounts of capital pointed at Hong Kong from the mainland, and held at bay only by capital controls, it is difficult to see a scenario where capital values will fall significantly,’ Barnes pointed out.

‘Equally, unless capital flows from the mainland were dramatically relaxed, it’s hard to see scope for further significant value uplifts. Prime Hong Kong residential values look set to occupy the same high plateau as many other world markets for a while,’ she explained.

Tokyo, where large, centrally-located, prime properties are rare, ranks as second most expensive for prime property, with values averaging US$3,280 per square foot after rising 10% in the year, more than five times the mainstream average of just US$630, and the biggest different between prime and mainstream across the Savills measures.

‘In future, investors will pay more attention to occupier fundamentals: not just the quantum but also the quality of demand. The biggest value differences will not be between world cities so much as between different neighbourhoods and different types of property within those cities. Tokyo is an early case in point,’ Barnes concluded.

– Propertywire