(Bloomberg) -- Sweden’s housing market continued to seek a bottom at the start of the year, beset by falling activity after ten months of consecutive price declines.

The largest Nordic country is enduring one of the biggest routs in residential real estate globally as home values have almost erased their pandemic-era gains after the end of ultra-low interest rates. 

House and apartment prices are down 15% from their peak after a 1% decline for both categories in January, according to data published by realtor organization Svensk Maklarstatistik on Wednesday.

The figures are in line with the HOX Valueguard index, which combines apartments and houses and is tracked by the central bank. Most forecasters expect a 20% peak-to-trough fall, adjusted for seasonal variation, which implies about a third of the decline is still ahead.

Still, Riksbank’s new governor, Erik Thedeen, said last week the housing slump shouldn’t be “overdramatized,” since an orderly retreat could be beneficial as it would make it easier for people with limited financial resources to buy homes. 

In January, transaction volumes for flats fell 27% from a year earlier, while the decline was 14% for detached houses.

The Riksbank is battling the biggest price increases in three decades, and is widely expected to lift its key interest rate half a percentage point at its meeting this week from the current 2.5%. After that, the market expects at least one more quarter-point hike by June, forward-rate agreements indicate.

--With assistance from Joel Rinneby.

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