The United Kingdom
Total Area: 242,900 km²
GDP (in billion USD): 2,418
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom and Britain, is a sovereign state located off the north-western coast of continental Europe.
The UK housing market remains weak. But with the UK economy on the edge of another recession, the surprise is that the housing market has not fallen more. And central London is booming.
High demand from foreign buyers, who own more than 50% of properties in many central London boroughs, has fuelled the rise, as has the continued dynamism of London as a financial center.
The rise in prices in London has some alarming features. In Greater London the average mortgage repayment burden now stands at 35.7% of income, followed by the South West at 34.9% and the South East at 34.4%.
Northern Ireland had the lowest mortgage repayments burden at 20.3% of income. Nationally, mortgage repayments as percentage of income rose to 28.1% in 2012, from 27.5% in 2011, according to the Halifax mortgage affordability index.
Nationally, UK house prices will likely remain static in 2013, according to Rightmove, Nationwide and the National Association of Estate Agents. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) actually expects UK house prices to rise by about 2% in 2013. It also predicts property transactions will increase by 3%, repossessions will fall below 350, 000 and housing starts edge up to about 115,000 in England. But locally, house prices in Northern England, Scotland and Wales are projected to drop further by up to 4% in 2013.