Europe housing market, top 5 winners and losers in 2009
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Winner: NORWAY – Norway experienced Europe’s greatest gains, with house prices bouncing back more than 11 percent from one year go. Newscom/File
Winner: FINLAND – Finland saw an 8 percent rise in home prices, a level of house price inflation not out of place in the so-called ‘reckless-easy- credit-bubble’ days of the near past, according to the report. Newscom/File
Winner: SWEDEN – Sweden's home prices jumped 7 percent over 2009, rising back to their pre-crisis levels thanks to a multi-billion-kronor government stimulus in the construction sector. But the market is still slow, relatively, with sales of houses in October 11 percent behind 2007 levels. Zuma/Newscom/File
Winner: AUSTRIA – Alone among Eastern European countries, Austria actually saw home values increase. Home prices rose 3 percent across Austria. Newscom/File
Winner: UK – Home prices in the United Kingdom rose 1 percent overall in 2009, and up 8.5 percent from a mid-year trough. The revival of prices was greatest in London and the South East, encouraged by buyers attracted by lower prices and attractive borrowing rates, according to the report. Zuma/Newscom/File
Loser: IRELAND – Ireland's home prices fell 18 percent as both the former Celtic Tiger and Spain suffer from a housing glut ever since the collapse of their construction booms. DEP/Newscom/File
Loser: HUNGARY – Hungary's home prices fell 20 percent in 2009, as the global economic crisis led to an IMF bailout and high mortgage rates put the pinch on homeowners. The report predicts more downfall in 2010. Zuma/Newscom/File
Loser: LITHUANIA – Lithuania felt home prices fall 27 percent. The north eastern tip of the Baltic states -- Lithuania along with Latvia and Estonia -- is predicted to take the longest to recover Newscom/File
Loser: ESTONIA – Estonia's home prices fell 30 percent, as part of the “unlucky horseshoe” of poorly performing economies, weak public finances, and declining housing markets that feed problems into each other. Newscom/File
Loser: LATVIA – Latvia’s home prices plummeted 53 percent in 2009, on top of a fall the previous year of 30 percent. Newscom/File
President Nicolas Maduro announced a new, mandatory grocery fingerprinting system to combat food shortages. In the spring, Venezuela tried a similar system in government-run supermarkets on a voluntary basis.
ByHannah Dreier, Associated Press
Venezuelans could soon have to scan their fingerprints to buy bread.