Europe is in the midst of “prolonged agony” of housing market decline with no obvious end in sight, a report by surveyors has claimed.
The downturn began five years ago, so had lasted longer than a typical 12 or 18-month dip, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said.
The Irish Republic and Spain saw house price falls of 17% and 10% respectively in 2011, compared with 2010.
Austria, France, Switzerland and Norway all saw prices rise by 5% or more.
The Rics European Housing Review suggested that the future of the continent’s housing market depended on the scale of the economic downturn.
The future for the housing market would be “grim” if the eurozone crisis remained unresolved or came to a “painful conclusion”, it warned.
Prices in the Irish Republic had already fallen by 50% from their peak, the report said, with a host of new homes having been built before prices crashed.
“Not only did Ireland, Spain and Cyprus all have substantial price booms prior to their crashes, but they also had huge building booms as well,” the report said.
“Each one in consequence is still suffering from severe new supply overhangs.”
The market across Europe could survive relatively unscathed if there was only a moderate economic slowdown, the report added.
Read complete article at the BBC´s NEWS/Business: 28 February 2012 Last updated at 16:17 GMT