5th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey 2009

The Demographia 5th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey for 2009 is out. It rates metropolitan markets for affordability of the housing in each market. Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States are all discussed.

The Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey employs the “Median House Price to Median Household Income Multiple,” (“Median Multiple”) to rate housing affordability. The ratings are as follows 3.0 or Less is defined as “Affordable”, 3.1 to 4.0 “Moderately Unaffordable”, 4.1 to 5.0 “Seriously Unaffordable” and 5.1 and above “Severely Unaffordable”.

In recent decades, the Median Multiple has been remarkably similar among the nations surveyed, with median house prices being generally 3.0 or less times median household incomes. This historic affordability relationship continues in many housing markets of the United States and Canada. However, the Median Multiple has escalated sharply in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and in some markets of Canada and the United States.

Over the past year, house prices have declined in most markets. This “bursting of the housing bubble” followed an unprecedented increase in housing prices in all markets except some areas in the United States and Canada. The result is that housing affordability has generally improved, though remains at Median Multiples well above the historic norm in many markets.

Vancouver came in at 8.4, Victora 7.4, Kelowna 6.8 and Abbotsford 6.5 to name a few. All the previously named markets are defined as “Severely Unaffordable”. The province of British Columbia was generally described as severely unaffordable based on the calculations employed in this survey. However, many of these severely unaffordable markets have experienced steep price declines in the last year. Among the major markets, Vancouver is the least affordable. The Kamloops market was not specifically cited in this survey, but as a part of the province of British Columbia one can draw the conclusion that we too are at least “seriously unaffordable”.

To read the entire PDF document from The Demographia Survey click HERE.