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3 cities where housing is even less affordable than Auckland

What does London, New York, and San Francisco have in common? They all boast more affordable residential property markets than Auckland.

That’s right. New Zealand’s largest city is home to some of the least affordable housing in the entire world – but you might be somewhat relieved to know Auckland doesn’t (quite) top the list of the least affordable housing markets in the world.

According to the 2021 edition of the Demographia International Housing Affordability report, which compares house prices in relation to incomes in 92 major housing markets, these three cities boast residential property that is even more unaffordable than Auckland’s…

3. Sydney


We may be better than the Aussies when it comes to rugby and (at the time of writing) T20 cricket, but they still edge us when it comes to housing unaffordability. Auckland is ranked fourth, with Sydney in third place.

Other Australian cities that feature highly on the unaffordability scale include Melbourne (6th), Adelaide (13th), and Brisbane (18th).

2. Vancouver


The number of housing markets that have become severely unaffordable in the United States and Canada has grown steadily since 2004, with Vancouver topping the list for North America.

Toronto (5th) is the only other Canadian city in Demographia’s top five, but it does rank two others as “severely unaffordable” – Montreal (32nd) and Ottawa-Gatineau (36th).

1. Hong Kong


It may be hard to believe for many Aucklanders reading this right now, but Hong Kong is more than twice as expensive as the City of Sails, according to the report.

The city is suffering its worst recession in years, but it’s property market continues to thrive (if you can accurately describe rampant price gains in such terms). Indeed, a five-bedroom apartment reportedly broke records in Hong Kong when it recently sold for $59 million, which works out at an eye-watering $17,500 per square foot.

Notable mentions

Rounding out the top 10 least affordable housing markets are Auckland, Toronto, Melbourne, San Jose, San Francisco, Honolulu and Los Angeles, with London and San Diego in 11th and 12th place respectively.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the report ranked the following four US cities as having the most affordable housing markets out of all of the ones surveyed: Pittsburgh, Rochester, Buffalo, and St Louis.

No other New Zealand cities were featured in the report.