Skip to Content

These Are the Least Affordable Places to Buy a House


The 12th annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey measured the affordability of 87 metropolitan housing markets in 9 countries, finding the least affordable market to be in Hong Kong.

The survey ranks affordability based on the “median multiple” in each housing market. The multiple is found by dividing the median price of a home by the median annual pretax income. A median multiple of 5.1 and over is considered “severely unaffordable.” According to the survey, using data from the third quarter of 2015, three of the nine countries’ average median multiples fell under that category. That number went up to four when considering all markets in each country rather than just the major markets, which have a population of over 1 million.

Hong Kong broke the record for the least affordable housing that the survey has ever measured with a median multiple of 19.0, up from 17.0 in last year’s survey, the previous record-holder. The second least affordable market was Sydney with 12.2, up 2.4 points from last year, the largest year-to-year increase in the survey’s 12 year history. Vancouver was next with a median multiple of 10.8.

The U.S. had the most affordable housing market with an average median multiple of 3.7, which is categorized as “moderately unaffordable.” Though it’s the most affordable country overall, U.S. housing markets, all of which happen to be in California, claimed four of the top 10 least affordable major metropolitan regions.