UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index 2019

Find out the latest property prices and cost of living in global cities.

30 Sep 2019

The UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index puts the housing market into long-term perspective and is designed to track the risk of property price bubbles in global cities. The greatest risk of a bubble is currently in Munich. In this year’s edition, we discuss the housing markets of some of the cities on the list, the cost of living around the world, and where service sector professionals need to work the longest to buy an apartment.

24 cities around the world.

This year we have added Madrid, Moscow, Dubai and Tel Aviv to the selection. These cities have come to investors’ attention in recent years.

Price falls in previously top-ranking cities.

Real prices in the four top-ranking cities in the 2016 UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index have fallen on average by 10%.

How to identify a bubble risk.

Price bubbles are a regularly recurring phenomenon in property markets. The term “bubble” refers to a substantial and sustained mispricing of an asset, the existence of which cannot be proven unless it bursts. The UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index gauges the risk of a property bubble on the basis of such patterns.

Where are the greatest bubble risks in 2019?

Use our interactive Global Real Estate Bubble Index to track and compare the risk of bubbles in 24 cities around the world across the last three years. Munich tops our list in 2019.

Key takeaways from this year’s bubble index.

Low rates fuel Eurozone bubble.

Index scores have increased in all cities within the Eurozone, driven by low interest rates. Paris and Frankfurt are now in bubble risk territory.

End of the boom.

Price growth rates has continued to slow in a majority of cities. Average price growth has come to a standstill for the first time since 2012.

Affordability remains a key risk.

The median price-income ratio has increased from five to seven years in the cities in our survey over the last decade.

 

The seven bubble risk cities:

Munich tops our list in 2019, followed by Toronto and Amsterdam. Frankfurt and Paris are new additions to the bubble risk zone. Vancouver completes this list. In London, by contrast, the bubble risk has fallen after further price corrections, as a result of which the city is now only in the over-valued category. Valuations in Vancouver, San Francisco, Stockholm and Sydney have fallen sharply. New York and Los Angeles are lower as well, while Singapore is almost unchanged.

Explore the seven cities with the highest bubble risk and their key real estate takeaways for 2019.

Munich Housing market valuations have soared thanks to the strong and well-diversified local economy, solid population growth and insufficient new supply. Real prices have more than doubled over the last 10 years, while real rents have risen by 40%.

Frankfurt Frankfurt’s housing market over the last 10 years has been characterized by accelerating price growth which has outpaced the country average annually. Last year real prices soared 11%, the highest rate among the cities covered in this report.

Paris Real housing prices in the French capital have reached a new all-time high after a 5% increase in the last four quarters. Prices have been decoupling continuously from the rest of the country since 2006. Consequently, the market has entered bubble risk territory.

Vancouver In just a couple of quarters, year-on-year price growth rates have reversed from over 10% to –7%. Sky-high valuations and overstretched affordability have made the market vulnerable to even minor demand shifts.

Amsterdam Amsterdam has recorded the strongest price increase of all cities in the study since 2015. On average, real prices have increased by close to 10% a year, outpacing income growth by far. Last year, price growth has slowed and fallen below the national average for the first time since 2008.

Toronto Real housing prices in the city almost tripled between 2000 and 2017. As in Vancouver, local authorities introduced a foreign buyers’ tax, rent controls and tighter mortgage standards to tackle worsening affordability.

 

Where do local professionals need to work the longest to buy an apartment?

The UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index provides an indication of price-to-income levels across select global cities. This is the basic affordability measure for housing.

Buying a 60 sqm (650 sqft) apartment exceeds the budget of people who earn the average annual income in the highly skilled service sector in most world cities. Affordability in terms of this average vary widely from 15 years in Paris to three years in Chicago.

Dive into each of the 24 cities and find out where it takes longest to buy an apartment near the centre.

Paris A 60 sqm apartment costs the equivalent of 15 years' salary.

London A 60 sqm apartment costs the equivalent of 14 years' salary.

Singapore A 60sqm apartment costs the equivalent of 12 years' salary.

Tokyo A 60 sqm apartment costs the equivalent of 11 years' salary.

Tel Aviv A 60 sqm apartment costs the equivalent of 11 years' salary.

New York A 60 sqm apartment costs the equivalent of 11 years' salary.

Investing in real estate: What does the real estate housing bubble risk mean for investors?

Anyone who acquired residential property in the last 40 years, even at the height of a local price bubble, has nevertheless enjoyed long-term capital gains in most centers.

We see three key reasons for this.

First, the technology-driven economic boom in many major centers led to an explosion in residential demand.

Second, growth in the number of wealthy households has generated ongoing excess demand for the best locations.

Third, real estate values benefited from a decline in real interest rates from the mid-1990s. Where the demand boom has not triggered a local construction boom – due to building restrictions for example – ground prices and rents have skyrocketed.

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