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The best and worst housing markets in Europe

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NEWSCOM

(Read caption) Norway had the strongest housing market in Europe last year according to a new study completed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

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Housing prices across Europe continued to fall in 2009, with only five countries in the 24-nation zone seeing their average home values rise.

But there was some optimism for Europe’s housing market in 2010. While the first half of 2009 “was full of gloom,” the second half of the year saw housing markets bottoming out and showing signs of recovery, according to the latest European housing review by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Nordic countries led the charge, with Norway’s home prices rising 11 percent from a year ago thanks to a culture of savings and a strong economy backed by oil revenues that bucked the global downturn in 2008.

IN PICTURES: The best and worst housing markets in Europe

Finland and Sweden followed close behind in growth, with home values respectively rising 8 percent and 7 percent. Only Austria and the United Kingdom also saw their home values increase, and a small fraction at that.

But most of Europe has little to celebrate, according to the latest European housing review by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

"Huge problems remain, unfortunately. Housing markets around the fringe of Europe are still dragging down economies in a vicious circle, and all European housing markets continue to face credit constraints and great uncertainty,” wrote the report’s author, Michael Ball, a professor of urban and property economics at the University of Reading, UK.

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