The world must act to contain the risk of another devastating housing crash, the International Monetary Fund warned on Wednesday, as it published new data showing house prices are well above their historical average in many countries.

The warning from the IMF shows how an acceleration in global house prices from already high levels has emerged as one of the major threats to economic stability, with countries making limited progress in keeping them under control.

Min Zhu, the IMF’s deputy managing director, said the tools for containing housing booms were “still being developed” but that “this should not be an excuse for inaction”.

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