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Which Cities Have the Highest Risk of a Housing Bubble?

by Katharina Buchholz

Munich was deemed the city with the highest risk of a housing bubble developing in a recent survey released by investment bank UBS. Other cities at risk include Amsterdam, Toronto, Vancouver and Frankfurt, placing two Canadian and two German cities in the top 7.

Amsterdam recorded the strongest annual price increase of any city in the survey since it was first released in 2015. Real prices increased by close to 10 percent, accompanying a wave of speculative buying. Dubai was the city where conditions eased most noticeably after housing boomed between 2010 and 2014 in connection to high oil prices.

Looking at the ratios of housing prices to rent, housing prices to income, the increase in mortgage payments to the increase of GDP, the increase in construction spending to the increase of GDP and, finally, the ratio of housing prices in the city and the surrounding areas, UBS determined their risk index. Out of 24 cities included in the survey (all of which are known for their high real estate prices), seven were found to be in bubble-risk territory. Twelve more were considered to have an “overvalued housing market”, among them Zurich, London and San Francisco as well as Madrid, Stockholm and Sydney. The only city with an “undervalued” housing market according to the survey was Chicago.


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