FRANCE has become the property hot spot of Europe, surpassing both Spain and the UK, according to recent research.
In a study by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) of European house price inflation for 2004 France topped the table with an average increase of 15.5 per cent.
Spain came in second, with annual house price inflation of 15 per cent, with Ireland and the UK behind these two at 12 per cent growth.
The report, now in its sixth year, includes data and analysis on the 10 accession countries in Eastern Europe as well as Portugal for the first time.
The study points to a three speed Europe, with France, Spain, the UK and Ireland all occupying the fast lane with double-digit inflation figures.
They are followed by a middle group of six countries, with a house price inflation of around 5 per cent. The bottom group has a house price inflation figure somewhere between 0 and 2 per cent.
Milan Khatri, RICS economist, said: “Low interest rates have been the principal driver of rising house prices in many countries, despite some quite moderate economic performances.
“Any sustained increase in interest rates takes the steam out of markets, as seen in the UK over the last year.”