If you thought Australian property was expensive, you were right. Turns out we are home to the most unaffordable housing market in the world.
Australia is officially the most unaffordable housing market in the world and Sydney the second most unaffordable city, according to the 2011 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.
The survey, which covers 325 urban markets in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, China, Ireland, New Zealand the UK and USA, ranks affordability according to median gross annual household incomes. Markets are rated affordable so long as housing does not exceed three times the gross annual household income.
Australia, as a whole, came in at 6.1 times the annual household income, while in Sydney buyers need 9.6 times their annual income to purchase property. Yikes.
(The report put the median Australian house price at $634,300 and median income at $66,200.)
Only Hong Kong was more unaffordable than Sydney, with housing at 11.4 times household incomes.
“Once the exemplar of moderately priced, high quality middle class housing” Australia is now “the most unaffordable housing market in the English speaking world,” commented Joel Kotkin in the introduction to the survey.
The authors of the survey argue that the high cost of property is the result of over-regulated land use and restrictions on land use – something industry groups have been lobbying the various levels of government about for years.
According to Demographia, 27 of the 32 Australian markets analysed are severely affordable (more than 5 times annual income required to buy) with the remaining 5 seriously unaffordable (at or below 5 times annual income).
Melbourne followed closely behind Sydney, requiring 9 times the annual household income to purchase property, with Adelaide and Brisbane requiring 7.1 and 6.6 respectively.
The most expensive markets outside the major markets were Mildura (VIC), at 4.2, Launceston (TAS) at 4.5, Bunbury (WA) at 4.5, Albury-Wondonga (NSW-VIC) at 4.5 and Shepparton (VIC) at 4.9.
Outside of the major metropolitan markets, Coff's Harbour (NSW) was the least affordable, with a median multiple of 9.1. The Sunshine Coast (QLD) came in at 8.4 while the Gold Coast (QLD-NSW) had a 7.7 median multiple.