UBS: These 8 housing markets around the world are closest to a bubble

Homeowners in Toronto face the biggest risk worldwide of seeing their property values collapse.

That’s according to UBS’ latest annual Global Real Estate Bubble Index, which examines which housing markets have experienced unsustainable price increases.

“Annual price-increase rates of 10% correspond to a doubling of house prices every seven years, which is not sustainable,” the report said. “Nevertheless, the fear of missing out on further appreciation predominates among home buyers.”

Buyers are being egged on by easy financing conditions, growing wealth among the ultra-rich, and a shortfall of building supply relative to demand, the report said. By overblowing the impact of these three factors, homebuyers have driven at least eight cities into bubble territory.

Toronto and Amsterdam were the new additions this year to this cohort of cities where home prices have increased by more than 50% since 2011.

Here’s the full list in ascending order of the bubble index:


'Since 2015 real prices have increased by 30% and the city has entered bubble-risk territory. The city's housing market sharply decoupled from the weak countrywide housing market. Deviations from market fundamentals in the capital are, however, not extreme.'

Hong Kong

'Residential market prices reached an all-time high in midyear. Thus the UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index score for Hong has increased significantly. Prices -- especially for smaller dwellings -- surged in the last four quarters. In real terms they are close to three times higher than in 2003, having increased at an average annual growth rate of 10%. Real rents rose in the same period by 3%, while incomes were unchanged.'


'London's inflation-adjusted housing prices are almost 45% higher than five years ago and 15% higher than before the financial crisis a decade ago. But real income remains 10% lower than in 2007. The rise in house prices, however, has been decelerating since the UK referendum in June 2016, and real prices are 2% lower. The UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index score for London dropped to 1.77, but remains in bubble-risk territory.'


Photo: Chris Pash

'All sub-indicators point unequivocally to elevated risk on the housing market. The dip in prices in 2015-16 proved short-lived. Real prices again shot up 12% in the last four quarters and are now 60% higher than in 2012. Incomes increased by a meager 2% in inflation-adjusted terms. Tax breaks and interest-only loans are whitewashing the worsening affordability for the time being.'


Photo: Getty

'Price growth peaked in the middle of last year when real prices soared 25% year on year. In 2Q17 the growth slowed to 7%, falling below the country average. Income and rental growth were solid at 3% and 5% year on year respectively. So valuations were slightly dampened in recent quarters, but the market remains in the bubble-risk zone, harbouring substantial downside and elevated correction risk.'


'House prices remained on an explosive trajectory: in 2016 they again increased at double-digit rates against the backdrop of record-low vacancy. Real prices have risen 85% in the last 10 years and affordability continues to deteriorate. It takes a skilled service employee an all-time high of eight work years to buy a 60m2 (650 sqft) flat.'


'In the last 10 years, real prices have climbed by 60%, more than twice as fast as incomes, chiefly due to favourable financing conditions. Price growth sputtered over the last four quarters to 5%, below the national average, yet market imbalances increased further. Rising mortgage debt and building investments confirm overvaluing signals.'


Akin Oyedele/Business Insider

'House prices here are making up ground lost to Vancouver. Price growth accelerated last

year and reached an excessive 20% year on year in the last quarter. Real prices have

doubled in 13 years, while real rents have increased by only 5% and real income by less

than 10%. A strengthening Canadian dollar and further interest rate hikes would end the

party, in our view.'

And here's the full list:


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