These Global Cities Show the Highest Real Estate Bubble Risk
Housing bubbles are a tricky phenomenon. As a market gathers steam and prices increase, it remains a matter of debate whether that market is overvalued and flooded with speculation, or it’s simply experiencing robust demand.
Of course, once a bubble bursts, it’s all obvious in hindsight.
One common red flag is when prices decouple from local incomes and rents. As well, imbalances in the real economy, such as excessive construction activity and lending can signal a bubble in the making.
The map above, based on data from the Real Estate Bubble Index by UBS, examines 25 global cities, scoring them based on their bubble risk.
In the 2022 edition of the Real Estate Bubble Index, nine of the cities covered were classified as having extreme bubble risk (1.5 or higher score).
|Rank||Risk Category||City||Bubble Index Score|
|#5||🔴||🇭🇰 Hong Kong||1.71|
|#8||🔴||🇮🇱 Tel Aviv||1.59|
|#11||🟠||🇺🇸 Los Angeles||1.31|
|#17||🟠||🇺🇸 San Francisco||0.78|
|#20||🟠||🇺🇸 New York||0.57|
|#23||🟢||🇧🇷 Sao Paulo||0.20|
Canada’s largest city finds itself at the top of a ranking no city wants to end up on. Toronto’s home prices have been rising steadily for years now, and many, including UBS, believe that the city is now firmly in bubble territory.
Vancouver also finds itself in a similar position. Both Canadian cities have a high quality of life and have thriving tech industries.
Notably, none of the U.S. cities analyzed find themselves in the most extreme bubble risk category. The closest scoring U.S. city was Miami, which sits firmly in overvalued territory (0.5-1.5 range) with a score of 1.39.
Examining the Trends
In recent years, low interest rates helped push home prices and incomes further apart.
For cities in the bubble risk zone, prices have climbed by an average of 60% in inflation-adjusted terms over the past decade, while rents and real incomes increased by just 12%. And, while COVID-19 briefly put a dent in urban demand, rents in the cities analyzed rose at around the same pace as pre-pandemic times.
As a result, all but three of the cities saw positive price growth over the past year from a nominal price perspective:
U.S. cities occupy a number of spots at the top of this chart. Miami, in particular, is seeing strong internal migration patterns, as well as renewed interest from foreign investors.
Hong Kong experienced the biggest one-year nominal drop of all the cities analyzed. The report notes that since around 2019 Hong Kong “has broadly stagnated as the lack of affordability, economic woes, and pandemic restrictions all took a major toll on demand.”
Prices can’t rise forever. According to UBS, most cities with high valuations, price corrections have already begun, or could be right around the corner.
Ranked: America’s 20 Biggest Tech Layoffs Since 2020
How bad are the current layoffs in the tech sector? This visual reveals the 20 biggest tech layoffs since the start of the pandemic.
Ranked: America’s 20 Biggest Tech Layoffs This Decade
The events of the last few years could not have been predicted by anyone. From a global pandemic and remote work as the standard, to a subsequent hiring craze, rising inflation, and now, mass layoffs.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, essentially laid off the equivalent of a small town just weeks ago, letting go of 12,000 people—the biggest layoffs the company has ever seen in its history. Additionally, Amazon and Microsoft have also laid off 10,000 workers each in the last few months, not to mention Meta’s 11,000.
This visual puts the current layoffs in the tech industry in context and ranks the 20 biggest tech layoffs of the 2020s using data from the tracker, Layoffs.fyi.
The Top 20 Layoffs of the 2020s
Since 2020, layoffs in the tech industry have been significant, accelerating in 2022 in particular. Here’s a look at the companies that laid off the most people over the last three years.
|Rank||Company||# Laid Off||% of Workforce||As of|
Layoffs were high in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, halting the global economy and forcing staff reductions worldwide. After that, things were steady until the economic uncertainty of last year, which ultimately led to large-scale layoffs in tech—with many of the biggest cuts happening in the past three months.
The Cause of Layoffs
Most workforce slashings are being blamed on the impending recession. Companies are claiming they are forced to cut down the excess of the hiring boom that followed the pandemic.
Additionally, during this hiring craze competition was fierce, resulting in higher salaries for workers, which is now translating in an increased need to trim the fat thanks to the current economic conditions.
Of course, the factors leading up to these recent layoffs are more nuanced than simple over-hiring plus recession narrative. In truth, there appears to be a culture shift occurring at many of America’s tech companies. As Rani Molla and Shirin Ghaffary from Recode have astutely pointed out, tech giants really want you to know they’re behaving like scrappy startups again.
Twitter’s highly publicized headcount reduction in late 2022 occurred for reasons beyond just macroeconomic factors. Elon Musk’s goal of doing more with a smaller team seemed to resonate with other founders and executives in Silicon Valley, providing an opening for others in tech space to cut down on labor costs as well. In just one example, Mark Zuckerberg hailed 2023 as the “year of efficiency” for Meta.
Meanwhile, over at Google, 12,000 jobs were put on the chopping block as the company repositions itself to win the AI race. In the words of Google’s own CEO:
“Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth. To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today… We have a substantial opportunity in front of us with AI across our products and are prepared to approach it boldly and responsibly.”– Sundar Pichai
The Bigger Picture in the U.S. Job Market
Beyond the tech sector, job openings continue to rise. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed a total of 11 million job openings across the U.S., an increase of almost 7% month-over-month. This means that for every unemployed worker in America right now there are 1.9 job openings available.
Additionally, hiring increased significantly in January, with employers adding 517,000 jobs. While the BLS did report a decrease in openings in information-based industries, openings are increasing rapidly especially in the food services, retail trade, and construction industries.
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