The 2011 7th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, ranking 325 housing markets throughout the world, was released last month.
In the survey, Hong Kong ranked as the most severely unaffordable metropolitan area while Australia was found to be the most severely unaffordable country.
The 2011 survey was expanded to cover 325 urban markets, including Australia (32 urban markets), Canada (35), Hong Kong and China (1), Ireland (5), New Zealand (8), United Kingdom (33), and the United States (211).
For housing markets to rate as "affordable", Demographia states that housing should not exceed three times gross annual household income.
Housing markets are rated as "affordable" at or below 3 times gross annual household income (Median Multiple), "moderately unaffordable" at or below 4 times income, "seriously unaffordable" at or below 5 times income and above 5, rated "severely unaffordable".
Hong Kong was found to have the most unaffordable housing of the 325 urban markets surveyed, with housing at 11.4 times household income, followed by Sydney at 9.6 and Vancouver at 9.5.
Of the countries surveyed, Australia had the most intense housing stress with housing prices at 6.1 times household incomes, followed by New Zealand at 5.3 times, United Kingdom at 5.2, Ireland at 4.0 and Canada at 3.4.
The United States was found to have the overall most affordable housing at 3.0 times gross annual household incomes.
For the first time, the Demographia survey separated the 82 major urban markets with populations exceeding one million. Within this group, only 20 markets were found to be affordable, 25 moderately unaffordable, 13 seriously unaffordable and 24 severely unaffordable markets.