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Two-Tier Global Housing Market Could Lead to Bubble: Goldman

Thursday, 8 Nov 2012 | 7:24 AM ET

A two-tier housing market amongst developed economies has sprung up as some countries have rebounded faster from the global financial crisis than others, according to new research by Goldman Sachs, which warns the situation could lead to several bubbles.

In a report titled: "Just don't look down some house markets are flying again" Goldman argues easy money policies by the world's major central banks has had a ripple effect on countries which have avoided the worst of the global financial crisis, boosting their house prices.

According to Goldman, there now exist housing "high-flyers" - countries that have experienced real house price increases and "low-lyers" - countries where the housing market downturn appears to be more protracted.

"High flyers" include Germany, Finland, Norway, France, Switzerland and Israel as well as Canada and Australia.

The "low lyers" include the U.S., and the euro zone periphery of Spain, Greece, Italy and Ireland- but also those places where prices fell in the post-crisis period but have since stabilized such as the U.K., Japan and Denmark.

Goldman warns that housing market risks could be greater amongst some in the "high flyers" category including Canada and Norway where valuations and activity levels appear more stretched. (Read more Norway's Housing Boom Could Lead to Spain-Style Bust)

According to the report, data shows a clear correlation between those economies experiencing better cyclical recoveries and stronger house prices. Israel, Canada and Germany have recorded some of the sharpest house price gains since the crisis and have also shown the largest cyclical improvements.

But Goldman also says global monetary easing is continuing to favor those economies that don't have significant economic problems by easing finance conditions.

This could lead to a dilemma for policymakers in these less troubled countries who need to avoid the dangers from housing bubbles.

Countries could announce macro and micro-prudential measures such as tightening the lending rules for mortgages to temper demand.

A report by Danske Bank last month echoed the divergent fortunes of the housing market across the euro area. The report compared the marked fortunes of Germany, which is seeing a resurgence in house prices buoyed by construction and demand for home loans.

In contrast, Danske said Spain's market is "dead cold." It also warned that the French housing market is cooling after what it described as a peak in prices at the tail-end of 2011.

-By CNBC's Shai Ahmed, Follow her on Twitter @shaicnbc

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