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European Real Estate Takes a Hit
by Chris Irish

Real estate stocks fell all over Europe last week amid concerns over rising interest rates. With a jump in oil prices of 1.4% the FTSE Eurofirst index fell about 1% with the real estate stocks suffering the most. Investors in the fragile Spanish market expressed an extremely cautious view to the effect that the rising interest rates might have on their shares. The large Spanish construction group Sacyr-Vallehermoso fell 4.2% as a consequence and there were similar results in France and Holland. Other European countries were hit but not to such a large extent; possibly due to many believing that properties not aimed to be sold as ‘holiday’ or ‘second’ homes are far more stable.

With the huge boom in real estate markets all over the developed world will people look to the emerging economies of the world to extend their property portfolios? Between 2000 and 2006 the residential real estate market in developed countries has risen 75% to around $75 trillion, creating huge wealth and borrowing power amongst general homeowners and property developers. However, with many experts believing that the market may have reached its peak for the present time, new opportunities will naturally present themselves in other, less developed countries. The amount of time and money developers and investors are willing to put into emerging property markets will of course dictate the extent to which foreign property prices will grow; but it is surely only a matter of time before many more countries follow suit in the real estate boom.

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