The 10 most expensive cities to live in around the world in 2018

Vancouver, Canada.

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Vancouver, Canada.
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Reuters/Reuters Photographer

The world’s most expensive cities to live in have been revealed in a major survey of almost 300 population hubs.

The destinations are named in the 14th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2018.

It analysed 293 metropolitan housing markets in nine countries – Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, and the US – in the third quarter of 2017.

Using the “median multiple” approach, which involves taking an area’s median house price and dividing it by – the median household income. So if the aver gae income was $50,000 and the average house cost $250,000, the median multiple would be 5.

The method found 26 “severely unaffordable” locations, with the worst offenders in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and China.

The survey also looked at all cities, non-major markets included – which is the data we’ve compiled below.

Scroll down to see the 10 most expensive cities to live in around the world in 2018.


10. Tauranga, Western Bay of Plenty, New Zealand — New Zealand’s housing is severely unaffordable with an overall median multiple of 5.8, and in Tauranga the average home costs 8.9 times the average income.

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travellight / Shutterstock

=9. Salinas, Monterrey, California, USA — Located in the county of Monterrey, Salinas — a city with a population of less than 150,000 — has a median multiple of 9.1.

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EQRoy / Shutterstock

=9. San Francisco, California, USA — Tied with Salinas is hilly, much more populous San Francisco, also with a median multiple of 9.1.

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A street in San Francisco, California.
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Richard Heyes/Flickr

8. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA — The beachy Hawaiian capital, which sits on the south coast of the island of Oahu, has an unaffordable median multiple of 9.2.

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Honolulu, Hawaii.
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Shutterstock/Filip Carmen

=7. Los Angeles, California, USA — LA is the second least affordable city in the US, with a median multiple of 9.4.

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blvdone/Shutterstock

=7. Santa Barbara, California, USA — The fourth — but not the last — Californian city to reach the top 10, Santa Barbara has a median multiple of 9.4.

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iStock / Dima_Rogozhin

6. Melbourne, Australia — With a median multiple of 9.9, Melbourne has deteriorated from 6.3 in 2001, and under 3.0 in the early 1980s. Since 2001, median house prices have increased the equivalent of more than three years in pre-tax median household income.

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Lenny K Photography/Flickr

5. San Jose, California, USA — The least affordable housing market in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Jose has a median multiple of 10.3.

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mTaira/Shutterstock

4. Santa Cruz, California, USA — Also located in the Bay Area, Santa Cruz is the least affordable market in the US with a median multiple of 10.4.

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Dale Cruse/Flickr

3. Vancouver, Canada — The least affordable market in Canada with a median multiple of 12.6, Vancouver has experienced the greatest housing affordability deterioration among major markets in the survey, rising by more than 2.35 times from 5.3 in 2004.

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Downtown Vancouver is seen at dawn.
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Reuters/Reuters Photographer

2. Sydney, Australia — The country’s least affordable market, Sydney has a median multiple of 12.9, a rapid deterioration considering the rate was 6.3 in 2001. The UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index rates Sydney as having the world’s fourth worst housing bubble risk (tied with Vancouver).

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Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

1. Hong Kong, China — The least affordable housing for the eighth straight year with a median multiple of 19.4 — the highest ever reported in the survey, up from 18.1 last year.

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Shutterstock/cozyta