If I were to ask you what the term "top  housing markets in the world" meant, would you reply:
- a) the countries with the highest volume of house sales?
- b) the countries with the highest aggregate value of house sales?
- c) the countries who sent a team of real estate agents to a big international contest where they had to sell houses and lie to buyers and carry an egg on a spoon and came out top?
- d) the countries that have recorded the lowest drop in house prices over the last year?
- e) a meaningless load of bollocks meant to encourage the housing market and stimulate real estate advertisers?
- f) 'd' & 'e'?
Ninth! The bad news is we're out of the medals, but the good news is that we get automatic entry to next year's index. Anyway, cue the standard procession of economists predicting things either getting worse or getting better in such a way that at least one (eventually) gets it right, and we don't all catch on that economists are no better at predicting economic trends than coin collectors are at predicting coin tosses.
New Zealand has ranked in the top 10 housing markets in the world, but prices have still dropped.
It had one of the smallest price falls lately and is ranked alongside Europe for toughing out the slump.
Real estate consultancy Knight Frank has released its international house price index which compared house price changes in the second quarter of last year with the same period this year.
That showed New Zealand was ninth least affected out of 32 countries.
And a final word from Michael Boulgaris:
"It now appears that house prices are starting to stabilise across the world," said Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank.
[...] BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander said the list of pessimists expecting house prices to fall was shrinking.
[...] BNZ managing director Andrew Thorburn this week said the country's $130 billion overdraft was unsustainable.
[...] Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard also fretted about the housing recovery last week.
"We are always very alert to not wanting to spark off an unnecessary or unbalanced housing revival," he said.
He had a TV show, don't you know. Don't worry mate, keep repeating the mantra and you'll convince yourself it's true.
Real estate agent Michael Boulgaris said cheap money was helping housing recover.
"With the ASB cutting its floating mortgage rate by 65 base points to a new low of 5.75 per cent, the spring property boom is yielding increased confidence among buyers, vendors and agents," he said.
Meanwhile, for those hoping to lord it over friends, co-workers and loved ones from lower-performing housing markets, here's the helpful table from the print edition:
Take that, Bulgaria!