New Zealand is officially home to the most liveable cities in the world as property values in the Land of the Long White Cloud rise 20.5 per cent since the start of the pandemic.
Brisbane and Perth also ranked in The Economist top 10 list while Melbourne just managed to hold on to a spot ... and Sydney fell off.
The pandemic was a major factor in the global liveability ranking with restrictions drastically impacting people’s lives.
Usual frontrunner Melbourne fell back to 16th position in the past six months before sliding in at eighth in the final 2021 global liveability list.
Sydney fell to 11th position from third place in 2019, making way for the New Zealand entrants.
Auckland placed first of 140 cities for stability, healthcare, culture, environment, education and infrastructure.
However, the list does not take affordability into account, with house prices in both Australia and New Zealand reaching all time highs.
The average house price in Auckland is $1,219,183, up 16.5 per cent in a year.
Wellington is up 27.2 per cent to $1,001,732, the most rapid growth of all major Kiwi cities, according to Corelogic data for May.
This compares to Australia’s house prices, which jumped 14.3 per cent in a year on average.
In Japan, property prices are slowly on the rise after a blip during the start of the pandemic.
Switzerland is the exception to the rule with house prices returning to 2018 levels thanks to government-imposed cooling measures.
Top 10 most liveable cities
^Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit, Global Liveability Index 2021
The Economist Intelligence Unit head of global liveability Upsana Dutt said Covid-19 had taken a heavy toll on most cities, particularly in Europe.
“The cities that have risen to the top of the rankings this year are largely the ones that have taken stringent measures to contain the pandemic,” Dutt said.
“New Zealand’s tough lockdown allowed their society to re-open and enabled citizens of cities such as Auckland and Wellington to enjoy a lifestyle that looked similar to pre-pandemic life.”
Dutt said one area where there has been regrettably little change since 2019 was at the bottom of the rankings.
“Damascus remains the world’s least liveable city, as the effects of the civil war in Syria continue to take their toll. Indeed, most of the previous 10 least liveable cities remain in the bottom 10 this year,” Dutt said.
The index was postponed in 2020 as “in-city contributors and expert analysts were unable to collect comprehensive, fair and representative data for many of the cities”.