Vancouver housing market ranked second least affordable in the world

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Housing affordability in the Metro Vancouver real estate market continues to deteriorate and is the second least affordable market in the world.

The Vancouver region’s median home price in 2014 was 10.6 times the local median pretax household income, according to the latest survey by Demographia International Housing Affordability. This represents a 0.3 increase from the last year’s released survey, which also ranked Vancouver in second place.

Hong Kong ranks first for unaffordable housing with a median home price that is 17 times its median pretax household income. Australia’s largest metropolis of Sydney is the third least affordable market in the world with a median multiple of 9.8, an increase of 0.8 from 2014.

It was the worst housing affordability rating for all three cities since the Demographia survey began 11 years ago.

Across Canada, the survey says unaffordable housing is a growing issue with a “seriously unaffordable” major market median multiple of 4.3 and a “moderately unaffordable” median rating of 3.9 overall.

Toronto’s housing affordability continues to decline as well largely in part to the provincial government’s recently implemented green belt policy to contain growth. Its median rating is 6.5, a 65 per cent increase since the survey first started.

Researchers say a median of 5.1 or higher is considered “severely unaffordable,”4.1 to 5 is “seriously unaffordable,” 3.1 to 4 is “moderately unaffordable” and 3 or lower is “affordable.”

This year, the survey evaluated 378 housing markets in major metropolitan areas around the world; there are 85 “severely unaffordable” markets, 76 “seriously unaffordable” markets, 119 “moderately unaffordable” markets and 98 “affordable” markets.

World’s 10 Least Affordable Major Metropolitan Markets

  1. Hong Kong, China – 17.0 ($762,437 median price; $44,730 median household income)
  2. Vancouver, Canada – 10.6 ($704,800 median price; $66,400 median household income)
  3. Sydney, Australia – 9.8 ($812,000 median price; $82,800 median household income)
  4. San Jose, U.S.A. – 9.2 ($860,000 median price; $93,400 median household income)
  5. San Francisco, U.S.A. – 9.2 ($744,400 median price; $81,200 median household income)
  6. Melbourne, Australia – 8.7 ($658,000 median price; $75,900 median household income)
  7. London, U.K. – 8.5 ($706,400 median price; $84,222 median household income)
  8. San Diego, U.S.A. – 8.3 ($517,800 median price; $62,700 median household income)
  9. Auckland, New Zealand – 8.2 ($613,000 median price; $75,100 median household income)
  10. Los Angeles, U.S.A. – 8.0 ($481,900 median price; $60,000 median household income)

Affordability Of Other Major Metropolitan Markets in Canada

  • Toronto, Ontario – 6.5 ($482,900 median price; $73,900 median household income)
  • Kelowna, B.C. – 6.4 ($309,900 median price; $64,300 median household income)
  • Fraser Valley/Abbotsford, B.C. – 6.1 ($446,900 median price; $73,200 median household income)
  • Hamilton, Ontario – 5.0 ($344,200 median price; $69,200 median household income)
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba – 3.8 ($251,400 median price; $65,800 median household income)
  • Montreal, Quebec – 4.3 ($239,000 median price; $56,400 median household income)
  • Calgary, Alberta – 4.2 ($394,000 median price; $94,700 median household income)
  • Quebec City, Quebec – 4.1 ($248,100 median price; $60,100 median household income)
  • Edmonton, Alberta – 3.9 ($350,000 median price; $90,000 median household income)
  • Ottawa-Gatineau, ON-QC – 3.7 ($292,900 median price; $80,100 median household income)

World’s 10 Most Affordable Major Metropolitan Markets

  1. Detroit, U.S.A.
  2. Rochester, U.S.A.
  3. Buffalo, U.S.A.
  4. Cleveland, U.S.A.
  5. Cincinnati, U.S.A.
  6. Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A.
  7. Pittsburgh, U.S.A.
  8. Saint Louis, U.S.A.
  9. Atlanta, U.S.A.
  10. Indianapolis, U.S.A.


Feature Image: Vancouver condos via Shutterstock

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Vancity Buzz Staff Your inside source for Vancouver happenings. Established 2008.
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Kenneth Chan Deputy Editor & Social Media Manager at Vancity Buzz. He covers stories pertaining to local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation, infrastructure, and anything else that makes a difference in the lives of Vancouverites. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]
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Jill Slattery Jill Slattery was born and raised in Vancouver, where she also earned an Arts degree from UBC in English and Creative Writing. She is an avid TV-watcher and a shameless Taylor Swift fangirl. Jill is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. Contact her at

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