From the Economist:
WHEN we last looked at global house prices, only six of the countries we surveyed had recorded year-on-year declines. Three months later that figure has risen to 16.
In America some saw signs of a bottom in a report on March 17th showing sharp rises in housebuilding starts and permits in February, after months of decline. Others, however, just saw a bigger stack of apartments for sale which no one will be very keen to buy. In truth, the outlook has long been dismal from the banks of the Potomac and the Thames, and now it is starting to look grim from the banks of the Huangpu
Gone is the optimism of yesteryear. Book titles such as “Are You Missing the Real-Estate Boom? The Boom Will Not Bust and Why Property Values Will Continue to Climb Through the End of the Decade — And How to Profit From Them” (2005) are destined for the annals of folly, next to asset-bubble classics such as “Dow 36,000”. Fear has replaced frenzy, and house prices may overshoot on the way down. A recent report by Numis Securities estimated that British house prices could fall by a further 40-55%, saddling millions with properties worth less than their mortgage debt. Long was the uphill march, long will be the downhill descent.