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Hong Kong Tops List of Most Unaffordable Property Markets for 14th Consecutive Year


In a familiar refrain, Hong Kong has once again been crowned the world’s most unaffordable city for housing, marking its 14th consecutive year at the top of the Demographia International Housing Affordability report. The report, released in June, underscores the city’s persistent struggle with housing affordability, as it remains the only Asian metropolis in the top ten.

Trailing Hong Kong in the rankings are Sydney and Vancouver, positioned second and third respectively. The report, which evaluates 94 major markets across eight countries, highlights the stark contrast within Asia, with Singapore—the only other Asian city surveyed—ranking as the 11th most affordable.

Hong Kong’s housing market stands alone within China in the study, which predominantly focuses on countries from the Anglosphere. The affordability assessment employs the median multiple, a metric derived by dividing the median house price by the median household income within a market. This measure categorizes markets into five affordability groups: affordable (3.0 and under), moderately unaffordable (3.1 to 4.0), seriously unaffordable (4.1 to 5.0), severely unaffordable (5.1 to 8.9), and impossibly unaffordable (9.0 and over).

Hong Kong’s staggering median multiple of 16.7 places it firmly in the “impossibly unaffordable” category, far outstripping its global counterparts. The other cities in the top ten list are:

  1. Hong Kong, China (16.7)
  2. Sydney, Australia (13.3)
  3. Vancouver, Canada (12.3)
  4. San Jose, USA (11.9)
  5. Los Angeles, USA (10.9)
  6. Honolulu, USA (10.5)
  7. Melbourne, Australia (9.8)
  8. San Francisco, USA and Adelaide, Australia (tied at 9.7)
  9. San Diego, USA (9.5)

The persistent unaffordability in Hong Kong continues to be a critical issue, reflecting broader economic and social challenges. As housing prices soar, the dream of homeownership remains elusive for many residents. This ongoing crisis calls for renewed efforts in policy and planning to address the housing affordability dilemma in one of the world’s most dynamic yet prohibitively expensive cities.