Ranked: The world’s most unaffordable property markets

Bournemouth named as the UK's most unaffordable area

Hong Kong has maintained its place at the top of a ranking of the most unaffordable housing markets in the world, with house prices coming in at 18.1 the median annual pretax household income. That’s a touch better than the previous year’s 19x, but anything above a 5.1 is “severely unaffordable”, according to workings by Demographia.

Sydney again comes in in second place (a 12.2x multiple), followed by Vancouver and Auckland. London, interestingly, doesn’t even make the top ten (house prices here are 8.5 times the average pre-tax household income), although the UK has no “Affordable” housing markets at all (with a median multiple of 3.0 or less); Bournemouth and Dorset flies the dubious flag as Britain’s most unaffordable area, with an 8.9 median multiple, followed by Greater London and then Devon.

The world’s ten least affordable major housing markets

Rank: Least affordable Affordability ranking (/92) Nation Housing market Median multiple

1

92

China Hong Kong

18.1

2

91

Australia Sydney, NSW

12.2

3

90

Canada Vancouver, BC

11.8

4

89

New Zealand Auckland

10.0

5

88

USA San Jose, CA

9.6

6

87

Australia Melbourne, VIC

9.5

7

86

USA Honolulu, HI

9.4

8

85

USA Los Angeles, CA

9.3

9

84

USA San Francisco, CA

9.2

10

83

UK Bournemouth & Dorset

8.9

HK has seen “a substantial deterioration in its housing affordability” in recent years, says Demographia in its annual International Housing Affordability Survey, which looks at 406 metropolitan housing markets around the world, with the media multiple soaring from (a still unaffordable) 11.4x in 2010. That’s mainly due to ridiculous price inflation of nearly 40% for the second-hand property market since 2012 (+7.7% in 2016). Prices are still, however, slightly below their peak in September 2015.

There are just 11 affordable major housing markets (with over a million residents), according to these workings, all in the United States. 29 major markets, however, are dubbed Severely Unaffordable, including all in Australia (5), New Zealand (1) and China (1). There are 13 severely unaffordable major markets in the United States, out of 54. Seven of the United Kingdom’s 21 major markets are severely unaffordable, and two of Canada’s six.

Download the full Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey report here (PDF)