Oxford is another of these glorious smaller European cities in which you’re praying the numbers stack up so you can go house hunting.
Nestled in between the Chilterns and Cotswolds, it is a tourist magnet for UK residents and global visitors alike. Just an hour from London, its residents include Big Smoke folk happy to commute to get a slice of spires and moderate bustle.
But all this appeal is reflected in its property.
Oxfordshire house prices rose as much as 150 per cent between end of 2017, official figures show. Oxford Mail last year found an example of this inflation - a house in St Margaret’s ward, in the north of Oxford city, found a house jump from GBP 350,000 in 2012 to GBP 885,000 five years later.
Hometrack found that Oxford was one of just a few cities that had grown faster last year compared to 2017 - up 1.1 per cent against 0.5 per cent. At December 2018, the property data firm stated the average abode in the city at GBP 416,200.
As with similarly sized cities in the Netherlands and Germany, the appeal of the city has led to claims that local resident are priced out of the market. This affects the off plan market too, with more buyers in new-build flats and houses to come from elsewhere, including abroad. Any sharp correction may create valuation issues come mortgage time.
Brokers told national press at the end of last year that stamp duty may put a natural ceiling to further price climbs. But more supply and affordable housing will likely also be needed.
Some may have raised an eyebrow at PricewaterhouseCooper’s research paper last month that put Lisbon number one among European cities for investability – room for growth, competitively priced, and all the other metrics.
Perhaps the second eyebrow should be raised that the capital’s 7.9 per cent price growth in 2018 wasn’t the highest rate of price growth. That instead was found in Porto, which saw a 15.6 per cent hike in prices.
The coastal city, way up north, is the second biggest urban hub, home to not just port wine but the origin of the country’s name.
Demand for its city centre apartments and townhouses – and villas further out - picked up sharply from 2014, and will likely get its share of the 7-8 per cent price rise nationally between 2019-2020, as predicted by Moody’s Investor Services. The amendment to the law on rental property in urban areas in 2012 has also developed a decent market in Porto for buy to let.
As an economic hub with good transport links and its own airport, it is worth consideration for any outside investors who may be buying in the country in order to set up a company, and wish for a lower price point than central Lisbon. Despite the headline growth, it follows a fall of around 35 per cent in northern Portugal after 2008.
Popular is the so-called Golden Triangle – the Avenue of Brazil, Avenida da Boavista and the Avenue of Marechal Gomes Da Costa – which is the higher end luxury slice of Porto that has a mix of international buyers.
Properties overseeing the sea can be as high as EUR 6,000 per square metre, research by The New York Times and other sources found.
Here’s an Australian city whose property prices can be described as ‘down under’.
Darwin property prices have plummeted in the last four years, leading to the average home in the Northern Territory city slipping below AU$500,000 in November 2018, according to the NT Real Estate Institute.
Compared to Australia’s other major cities, from the global hubs of Melbourne and Sydney to the more isolated but varied offering of Perth, Darwin is heavily – perhaps chronically – dependent on the mining and hydrocarbon projects in the territory.
The INPEX construction project during the gas boom of just a few years ago is an example. When the money’s good, transactions for houses soar, and in cash. Rental is strong too – the city had a vacancy rate of less than 1 per cent around 2015.
But when commodity prices drop, projects recede and workers leave, the tiny population growth since 2015 in the city has had an inevitable effect on the number of transactions.
CoreLogic’s Total Returns Index at July 2018 found that returns for property investors in Darwin fell from 2.5 per cent to -0.8 per cent in a year. Its House Values Index show that Darwin had one of Australia’s weakest rental market.
Indeed, the Institute found that Darwin’s rental vacancy rate was now around 8 per cent. On the other hand, its higher end properties have held their value better. But few cities show a starker link between real estate and the job market.