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Nov 29, 2012

Australia second only to Hong Kong in housing unaffordability stakes

Australia is second only to Hong Kong for the cost of housing for the average household, according to an international survey of 325 housing markets.

The 8th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey has found that all major Australian housing markets are ‘severely unaffordable’, with Sydney and Melbourne coming, respectively, third and fourth most unaffordable cities in the world.

“We are almost world beaters for pricing families out of housing markets’ said Joel Pringle, Campaign Manager for Australians for Affordable Housing. “And this is not just a capital city problem. Regional centres like Mildura, Shepparton, Bunbury and Toowoomba are all highlighted in the report as seriously unaffordable.

“There are structural issues with our housing markets, and until governments around Australia take decisive action the housing crisis will continue.”

“In spite of the recent interest rate cuts, housing remains at historically unaffordable levels in Australia.”

“Not one of the 32 housing markets surveyed in Australia were found to be affordable. Not even close. The best housing market we have is regarded as ‘seriously unaffordable’.”

“This report demonstrates the long-term structural problem with our housing markets, and they can’t be wished away. The Government needs to reform the housing taxation regime that has contributed to the housing affordability crisis, and ensure that there are adequate affordable rental properties to assist people in need.”

The 8th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey by Wendell Cox and Hugh Pavletich uses a ‘median multiple’ measure of housing affordability. This compares average house prices to average household incomes, and is an affective measure to use for housing affordability comparisons. The report can be access at .


Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visit


For enquiries and interviews contact Joel Pringle, 0427 563 989

Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed

  • Martin Bongiorno

    Agreed. Worsening housing affordability debunks the myth that Australia is the best place to live. We’re top of the pops for pricing low and middle income people out of housing..withouit even blinking as to the consequences. Capital cities have become no go zones, the exodus to rural and regional Australia of people in search of cheaper housing continues unabated, while those remaining in cities will continue to experience their wages being eaten away by higher and higher housing costs, and all the ugly impingements that go with it.
    Australia is not a two speed’s a two teered society..those who are property rich and those who are property poor. While those who have capitalised nicley from the boom, it comes as no surprise to find that there are serious consequences for those left out of the housing party.
    The supply and demand arguments are bunkem. It’s a ruse. The truth is more embarrassing for a nation extolling it’s virtues of fairness and equity. High housing costs makes us an unequal nation..a very unequal nation. Time for some honesty.

  • david

    i’d argue that there is more equality here in hong kong… sure housing is expensive, but thats it.
    cheap food, public transport, utilities (we even get electricity rebates when the budget is in surplus… ie. months of free electricity) and barely taxed imports give us the saving power to stay here and WANT to buy here in the new york of china… theres alot more upward mobility.
    four years of studying and working in perth cured me of any intention of immigrating to australia… why would anyone be a mortgage slave for their entire lives just to be stuck in the middle of nowhere?
    (on a side note, believe it or not, i think we have more freedom too… i can but a beer from a 7/11 for about $1AUD and drink it on the street… and my cigarettes are 15 times cheaper)
    lucky country indeed

  • John Greer

    Martin, …. You’ve hit the mark 100%. You see it exactly as it is in the lucky country of fair go . Now a year latter since your comment ,you’re even more right . Unfortunately for an ever increasing number of our fellow countrymen/women the financial stress is higher then ever . For a lot of them it has turned into slavery , and a extreme fear of loss of income….retrenchment .
    Are we living in Australia? What happened to our famous and egalitarian lifestyle ? Well, I remember it not so long ago , when although not utopian , it was a place of far less financial stress, and there was affordable housing to be had for most if employed . There were the so called wealthier areas of Vaucluse , Watsons Bay…East …etc . But if one wasn’t wealthy , anywhere from erskineville to Bankstown to Parramatta one could find a property without much stress to rent or buy. Those areas previously affordable are now just as prohibitively expensive to low and diddle earners that if starting out anew a mortgage would eat up a very large percentage of their net income . Rents? Same thing . And real estate agents and property managers often encourage to increase rents on a regular basis. Ahh it’s the ” market” they say…it’s hot .


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