The average cost of a home in the UK peaked in the third quarter of 2007, (at £184,131 according to Nationwide) and since then it fell to £149,709 in Q1 2009 and then increased to £163,056 (at the end of Q1 2013). Looking back from Q1 2007 (just before the peak), until Q1 2013, the average cost of a UK home is currently 7.1% cheaper than it was six years ago.
Admittedly, there is nothing too exciting about those figures. However, we live in a global society now and the performance of any country's property market only tells half of the true story with regards to how it has really changed in value, compared to other property markets. The other half, which is equally as important, is the fluctuation in the value of that country's currency.
As the vast majority of you reading this article will be UK residents, most likely earning the bulk of your income in Sterling, this article will focus on how property markets around the world have changed in value compared to your house, or your UK portfolio of properties. You may already own property abroad or you may be thinking of buying an overseas property: either way you will be, or should be, aware of the importance of currency swings. As with all investments, timing is everything and if we ignore rental yields and look at property values the same way we look at share prices, many investors will prefer to sell when property markets appear expensive and buy when they look cheap.
In order to properly assess which of the 50 most transparent global residential property markets look cheap and which look expensive, I have multiplied the annual percentage change reported in the Knight Frank Global House Price Index over the past six years and then multiplied that percentage change with the fluctuation in each country's currency value during the same period (from 1st April 2007 until 1st April 2013), which is the most recent quarterly data available.