“This time last year we thought it was going to be 2008 all over again,” said Kate Everett-Allen, the head of international residential research at real estate consultancy Knight Frank.

The fear was that house prices would collapse, as they reliably had done in past economic downturns. An increase in bankruptcies and unemployment would squeeze disposable incomes and make it difficult for highly indebted homeowners to keep up with their mortgages.

Those fortunate enough to own second homes would be forced to sell to build up cash reserves, putting even more downward pressure on prices.

“Actually, none of that happened,” added Everett-Allen.

Instead, house prices soared even as the world suffered its worst slump since the Great Depression. From New Zealand to the United States, Germany, China and Peru, the same phenomenon has taken hold: home prices are skyrocketing, and many buyers are panicking.

Among the 37 wealthy countries that make…

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