Property price in 56 key nations around the world increased by 3.9% year in year in the first quarter of 2019, led by Slovenia for the second quarter in a row with Latin America the strongest region.

Prices in Slovenia increased by 18.2% with falling unemployment, low interest rates and until recently, limited supply, behind the strong price growth, according to the latest global residential index from international real estate firm Knight Frank.

The next biggest growth was in Latvia at 11.9%, followed by China up by 11.6%, Malta up 10.8%, the Czech Republic up 9.9%, Luxembourg up 9.3%, Hungary up 9.2%, Mexico up 9%, Taiwan up 8.4% and Columbia up 8.3%.

At the other end of the index prices fell year on year by the most in Australia with a fall of 5.1%, followed by Finland down 1.6%, Morocco down 0.8%, Israel down 0.7%, Italy down 0.6%, Sweden down 0.3% and then Switzerland down 0.1%.

European countries account for six of the top 10 with Hungary making its fourth consecutive appearance in the top 10 rankings. China witnessed resurgent price growth in the first quarter of 2019 and in Hong Kong prices are expected to remain largely stable during the remainder of 2019.

In China, according to the index, the Greater Bay Area, excluding Hong Kong and Macau, will see continued growth, albeit in single digits. Across the rest of mainland China price inflation is likely to be tightly controlled via a range of stringent policy measures. In April, six Chinese cities were warned to stabilise land and house price inflation and in May the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development extended these warnings to another four; Suzhou, Foshan, Dalian and Nanning.

Kate Everett-Allen, international residential research partner at Knight Frank, pointed out that a number of countries, which throughout 2017 and 2018 looked to have taken up residence at the top and bottom of the rankings table, have seen a change in fortune.

Greece’s housing market gained momentum in 2018 but there is still far to go. Prices sit 40.8% below their peak form the third quarter of 2008 but the country has now registered four quarters of positive annual growth.

Three years ago the US and the UK sat side by side in the rankings but 17 places now separate the two countries. Despite posting annual growth of 3.7%, the rate of growth across the US is slowing, down from 6.5% in the first quarter of 2018. In the UK, political uncertainty has led to a wait and see effect with prices up 1.4% over the 12 month period.

But it is the index’s weakest rate of annual growth in three years. ‘Rising risks to global economic growth in the form of trade tensions, weaker Chinese GDP growth and prolonged Brexit negotiations are influencing buyer sentiment. News that the Australian Central Bank has cut interest rates and the Federal Reserve may follow their lead later this year could provide some stimulus,’ Everett-Allen added.