Survey: Latvia’s housing prices tumble by half in first quarter

Housing prices in Latvia have dropped by half during the first three months of this year compared to the same period in 2008, according to a new survey by Global Property Guide.

That’s the steepest decline among the 32 countries in the survey, the results of which were announced June 1.

“Latvia is in surprisingly deep trouble,” according to the survey. “Average apartment prices in Rīga declined an astonishing 50 percent over a year earlier, to EUR 747 per square meter, with a 30 percent drop during the quarter.”

On Jan. 1, 2008, the average price of a standard apartment in Latvia stood at EUR 1,405 per square meter, according to Rīga-based Arco Real Estate.

The Philippines-based Global Property Guide blamed a number of factors for the loss of property values around the world: “personal consumption expenditure decreased, consumer confidence remained low, credit remained tight and the unemployment rate worsened.”

Latvia landed in last place in the survey. Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, was second to last with a 35 percent drop.

The real estate markets in only five countries showed improvement over last year, according to the Global Property Guide. Switzerland led the pack with a 4.31 percent increase in housing prices, followed by Thailand, Austria, Israel and the market in Shanghai, China.

Apartment prices in Latvia continued to decline during April, albeit at a slower pace, dropping 5.7 percent from March, according to Arco Real Estate. The average price of a standard apartment dropped to EUR 572 per square meter.

Arco also noted a 30 percent decrease in the number of apartments being advertised for sale.

The real estate market, according to a statement by Arco board member Māris Laukalējs, has begun to stagnate.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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