The 5th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey expands coverage to 265 markets in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. 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
Over the past year, house prices have declined in most markets. This “bursting of the housing
bubble” followed an unprecedented increase in housing prices in all markets except some in
the United States and Canada. The result is that housing affordability has generally
improved, though remains at Median Multiples well above the historic norm in many markets.
Affordability Improves: There are 87 “affordable” markets, all in the United States (77) and Canada (10). As in 2007, the “affordable markets” include the three markets above 5,000,000 population with the greatest demand, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. A number of additional major markets (markets with more than 1,000,000 residents) in the United States are
“affordable,” while Winnipeg is Canada’s largest “affordable” market (Table ES-2).
“Severely Unaffordable” Markets Remain: The least affordable markets are generally in Australia, Canada’s province of British Columbia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and California (Table ES-3). However, many of these severely unaffordable markets have experienced steep price declines in the last year. Among the major markets, Vancouver is the least affordable, with a Median Multiple of 8.3, followed by Sydney (8.3), San Francisco (8.0), San Jose (7.2), Adelaide (7.1), Melbourne (7.1) New York (7.0) and London (6.9).
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