Hong Kong has world’s most unaffordable housing market

The housing market in Hong Kong has been ranked the least affordable in the world for a ninth successive year.

An annual global survey carried out by public policy group Demographia has found the property market in the Chinese city to be ‘severely unaffordable’, despite a recent drop in property prices.

The Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey covers 309 metropolitan housing markets in eight countries – Australia, Canada, China [Hong Kong Only], Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Property prices in Hong Kong have almost tripled in the last ten years, and although they have fallen in the past few months, they are still far higher than they should be, Demographia found.Hong Kong skyline - Emigrate2

Vancouver has replaced Sydney as the second least affordable city, while Melbourne, San Jose, Los Angeles and Auckland were also found to be among the most overpriced markets.

Overall, the most affordable major housing markets are in the United States, which is described as being only ‘moderately unaffordable’ followed by Canada, Singapore, Ireland and the United Kingdom which are all rated ‘seriously unaffordable’. Australia, New Zealand and China (Hong Kong) are all regarded ‘severely unaffordable’.

According to Demographia, there are nine ‘affordable’ major housing markets globally, all of which are located in the United States.  Pittsburgh and Rochester are the most affordable, followed by Oklahoma City, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Detroit.

There are 29 severely unaffordable major housing markets, including all those researched in Australia (five), New Zealand (one) and China (one). Thirteen major markets in the United States are rated severely unaffordable (out of 55), seven in the United Kingdom (out of 21) and two out of Canada’s six.

The Demographia report noted that although there has been moderation of house prices in some of the most unaffordable markets over the past year, none of the price declines have been sufficient to materially improve housing affordability.

World’s most unaffordable housing markets (median multiple score in brackets)

  1. Hong Kong (20.9)
  2. Vancouver (12.6)
  3. Sydney (11.7)
  4. Melbourne (9.7)
  5. San Jose (9.4)
  6. Los Angeles (9.2)
  7. Auckland (9.0)
  8. San Francisco (8.8)
  9. Honolulu (8.6)
  10. London (8.3)

*Markets which score more a median multiple of more than 5.1 are deemed severely unaffordable.

Article published 22nd January 2018