The World's 10 Most Expensive Major Cities To Live In, According To A New Survey

The World's 10 Most Expensive Major Cities To Live In, According To A New SurveyThe World's 10 Most Expensive Major Cities To Live In, According To A New Survey

A recent survey has identified the world's most expensive cities or major housing markets. Here they are.

Which are the most expensive cities to live in? One survey  The 14th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey analysed almost 300 urban markets of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, China, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, the US, and the UK.

The survey doesn’t just look at the city with the most expensive prices. It rates cities based on what is called the “Median Multiple,” which is the median house price divided by the median household income.

Researchers found Rochester to be the most affordable major housing market, with a median multiple of 2.5. It is closely followed by Cincinnati and Cleveland (2.7); Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo (2.8); St. Louis and Detroit (2.9), and Indianapolis and Grand Rapids (3.0).

In other words, if you plan on relocating, consider the US, and maybe avoid Australia; all of its major housing markets were deemed unaffordable. The survey found that there are 28 severely unaffordable major housing markets.

“There is an imperative to restore housing affordability,” writes Wendell Cox, one of the study’s authors. “The housing affordability crisis is a standard of living crisis and a poverty crisis.”

Most expensive housing in the world:

Here are the 10 most expensive major housing markets.

most expensive housing in the world

The World’s 10 Most Expensive Cities (Major Housing Markets) To Live In

10. London, UK

Median multiple: 8.5

In 1997, housing in London cost four times the annual earnings of the average joe. But in 2016, housing cost 12 times their annual earnings. (Quartz)

9. Auckland, New Zealand

Median multiple: 8.8

However, Auckland isn't the most expensive city in New Zealand. That distinction belongs to Taraunga — though it isn't considered a major housing market, its median multiple is at 8.9.

8. San Francisco, USA

Median multiple: 9.1

Because of the soaring housing prices in the state, California has a huge housing crisis. In San Francisco, wealthy homeowners are selling their homes to even wealthier new arrivals, pushing up the housing prices.

7. Honolulu, USA

Median multiple: 9.2

Because of Hawaii's limited space for development, land prices are quite steep. And Hawaii's capital is full of holiday homes for the wealthy, with very little options for locals.

6. Los Angeles, USA

Median multiple: 9.4

The median cost of a house in LA is at nearly half a million dollars, which is why more than half of LA residents rent. Wall Street Journal and Economist contributor Lauren Schuker Blum calls it a situation of "housing misery." (Zocalo)

5. Melbourne, Australia

Median multiple: 9.9

Rents in Melbourne are rising faster than incomes, forcing people to move into share houses or move back in with their parents. The rental problem has been worsened by wealthier individuals looking for more affordable options, pricing out lower earners. (Domain)

4. San Jose, USA

Median multiple: 10.3

Located right in Silicon Valley, San Jose's housing prices have skyrocketed as the job market has grown. Housing prices in the Bay Area have increased so much that even engineers are being priced out and moving to greener (read: more affordable) pastures like Seattle and Portland. (Business Insider)

3. Vancouver, Canada

Median multiple: 12.6

Why is Vancouver's median multiple so high? Though housing prices in Vancouver are cheaper than in Manhattan and San Francisco, the average Vancouverian's wages are lower.

2. Sydney, Australia

Median multiple: 12.9

Because of policies aimed to curb the growth of housing areas, land and house prices in Sydney are sky-high. UBS also ranked Sydney's property market as the fourth-riskiest in the world in its global bubble index. (

1. Hong Kong, China

Median multiple: 19.4

Hong Kong is the fourth most densely populated among sovereign states or territories. There's very little liveable land left in Hong Kong, and what's left is controlled by the government. (CNBC)


Have you visited or even lived in any of the world's most expensive cities? Let us know about your experiences in the comments!

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