4th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey

Housing Affordability, Poverty, Publications, Regulation, Wendell Cox


The 4th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey expands coverage to 227 markets in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. A principal consideration in this expansion into many smaller markets is the expanding evidence that households are moving from more expensive markets to smaller and less
expensive markets. The Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey employs the “Median House Price to Median Household Income Multiple,” (“Median Multiple”) to rate housing
affordability (Table ES-1).

In recent decades, the Median Multiple has been remarkably similar among the nations surveyed, with median house prices being generally 3.0 or less times median household incomes. This historic affordability relationship continues in many housing markets of the United States and Canada. However, the Median Multiple has escalated sharply in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and in some markets of Canada and the United States.

Housing Affordability Ratings

The housing affordability crisis is most pervasive in Australia and New Zealand, each with an overall Median Multiple of 6.3. Affordability is only somewhat better in the United Kingdom
(5.5) and Ireland (4.7), however is still far worse than historical norms. On the other hand, the national Median Multiple in Canada is 3.1, indicating that housing is less than one-half as
expensive relative to incomes as in New Zealand or Australia. The national Median Multiple in the United States is 3.6.

Least Affordable Markets: The least affordable markets are generally in California, Hawaii, the US East Coast, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada’s province of British Columbia. The least affordable market is Los Angeles, with a Median Multiple of 11.5, approaching four times the 3.0 “affordability” standard (Table ES-2).

Affordable Markets Remain: At the same time, 59 markets remain “affordable.” Thirteen (13) of the “affordable” markets are in Canada and 46 are in the United States. This includes large markets, such as Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Ottawa, Houston, Austin, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Indianapolis (Table ES-3).

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