LONDON (Reuters) - Booming housing markets in emerging Asia have pushed global residential property prices to a new peak, according to a report on Friday.
Consultancy Knight Frank's global house price index rose 4.6 percent over the 12 months to the end of September, taking it 4 percent higher than its previous peak in the second quarter of 2008.
"The index's strong performance has been assisted not just by headline grabbing price rises in Dubai, China and Hong Kong, but also in a number of emerging markets," said Kate Everett-Allen, associate at the London-based property consultancy.
Dubai topped the index, as house prices there rose more than a quarter over the last 12 months, followed by China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Struggling southern European economies filled the lower reaches of the index, with house prices falling steeply in Croatia, Spain and Greece.
"There are still 17 countries where house prices fell in the year to September - all except three were located in Europe. Only Japan, South Korea and New Zealand interrupt Europe's dominance at the foot of the table," said Everett-Allen.
Perhaps the biggest risk to the world's housing market would be a reduction in policy stimulus by the U.S. Federal Reserve, she added.
Economists polled by Reuters last month expect the Fed to start reducing its monthly bond purchases by March, with a small chance it could do so in January.
That explains why economists and housing analysts expect to see house price gains in the world's No.1 economy to slow markedly next year, from around 11 percent this year to 6.5 percent in 2014.
(Reporting by Andy Bruce)