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ingvellir Iceland

Iceland is facing a major financial crisis at this moment. With the country’s Krona currency losing 30% of its value in the last month, banks were forced into domestic ownership. This forced the Iceland stock market into a meltdown, leaving the Iceland government forced to ask for outside help.

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The American ambassador Robert Tuttle announced a week ago that the US embassy was to relocate to a more secure location. News of this spread quickly as speculation arose whether the current embassy location in swanky Grosvenor Square was to be transformed into luxurious high end apartments once the move was approved by British planning authorities and the US Congress.

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Usually when things start to slow down in the European housing market, it is as a direct result of dynamics of the US economy. While not everything is doom in Europe with some countries actually progressing, many suffer on the bottom line.

The latest release of Knight Frank’s Global House Price Index shows some exciting and worrying facts about the European property market.

Markets like Spain and Ireland are hardest hit of all. Ireland especially has seen a dramatic downturn in property values with price drops of 7% last year after seeing some promising increases in 2006.

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construction in tarifa, spain

British and other overseas expats who have lost their Spanish homes to a notorious and ridiculous ‘land grab’ law now have some hope in retrieving their properties. The European commission has now taken Madrid to the European Court of Justice over alleged infringements of European competition regulations governing the public works contracts in Spain.

The law allowed Spain’s developers to expropriate rural land from property owners if the developers’ could persuade local authorities that the rural land acquired were suitable for “urban development”.

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eu-flag | credits:squarcina(flickr)The need to consolidate European housing market data was emphasised in a recent piece from the FT. They stated that based on the current information available, there is difficulty in finding relevant European housing market data for market comparison purposes.

Creating such a database does make sense, however we also feel it might not be as easily done as said since there can never be a direct comparison between two markets anyway. For the purpose of information however it is certainly a great idea.