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Ranked: 15 of the World’s Least Affordable Housing Markets

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Mapping housing market affordability and some of the least affordable cities.

Ranked: 15 of the World’s Least Affordable Housing Markets

When considering where to live, big cities are attractive to people for a number of reasons, but affordability is usually not one of them.

This map, using data from Demographia, highlights the major cities ranked the worst for housing market affordability on a global basis.

Unaffordable Housing Markets

Demographiaโ€™s report looks at middle-income housing affordability in 94 cities in eight countries, many of which are known for having pricy housing markets:

  • ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia
  • ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada
  • ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China (Hong Kong)
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช Ireland
  • ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ New Zealand
  • ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Singapore
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United Kingdom
  • ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United States

For the 2023 report, it uses 2022 Q3 prices and income levels for evaluation, dividing the median house price by the gross median household income to find the median multiple for housing.

And for the first time in the history of Demographiaโ€™s reporting, not a single of the 94 cities scored below 3.0, the cutoff to be deemed โ€œaffordable.โ€ Hereโ€™s a closer look at the least affordable markets in 2023:

RankCityHousing Median Multiple
1๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Hong Kong18.8
2๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Sydney13.3
3๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Vancouver12.0
4๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Honolulu11.8
5๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ San Jose11.5
6๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Los Angeles11.3
7๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Auckland10.8
8๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ San Francisco10.7
9๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Melbourne9.9
10๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Toronto9.5
11๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ San Diego9.4
12๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง London8.7
13๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Miami8.5
14๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Adelaide8.2
15๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Bournemouth & Dorset8.0

For well over a decade now, Hong Kong has taken the top spot as the least affordable market globally. The only city to become even less affordable year over year was Los Angeles.

On the flip side, the most affordable city in the U.S. was Pittsburgh, with the median multiple sitting at 3.1. As people start to get priced out of certain markets, they may start to move to these more affordable cities.

Zooming out farther, here are the housing market affordability scores for all eight jurisdictions covered in this report:

Country / JurisdictionHousing Median Multiple
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Hong Kong18.8
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ New Zealand10.8
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia8.2
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada5.3
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Singapore5.3
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง UK5.3
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช Ireland5.1
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.5.0

Again, none of these countries are considered affordable, but within each there is a wide range of scores. Hong Kong is significantly less affordable than the second-place New Zealand and third-place Australia.

Scores across Canada, Singapore, the UK, Ireland and the U.S., however, are quite similar.

Better Cities for Housing Market Affordability

While many people flock to big cities, evidenced by the fact that many of the least affordable places are also among the most populous, others are opting to live somewhere more in their price range.

Hereโ€™s a glance at some of the most affordable housing markets worldwide:

RankCityHousing Median Multiple
1๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Pittsburgh, PA3.1
2๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Rochester, NY3.2
3๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Cleveland, OH3.5
3๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ St. Louis, MO-IL3.5
5๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN3.6
5๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Oklahoma City, OK3.6
7๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Buffalo, NY3.7
8๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Detroit, MI3.8
9๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Louisville, KY-IN3.9
9๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Tusla, OK3.9
11๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Edmonton, AB4.0
11๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Hartford, CT4.0
11๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Kansas City, MO-KS4.0
14๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Columbus, OH4.1
14๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Grand Rapid, MI4.1
14๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Indianapolis, IN4.1
14๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI4.1
14๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Philadelphia, PA-NJ-DE-MD4.1

All of the top 18 most affordable cities covered in the report are located in North America.

While big, global cities will certainly continue to attract talent and residents from all over, the more affordable cities may gain new residents for more practical financial reasons.

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The Top Retailers in the World, by Store Count

Here are the top retailers in the world by physical store presence, illustrating the dominance of convenience and drug store chains.

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This circle graphic shows the retailers with the highest number of locations worldwide.

The Top Retailers in the World, by Store Count

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Which retail chains have the highest global store counts?

Owing to their rapid speed of service in providing the basics to customers, convenience chains stand as the clear leaders. Going further, their smaller footprint allows them to expand their store counts at a greater scale.

This graphic shows the top retailers in the world by store count, based on data from the National Retailers Federation.

Japanese Retailers Dominate the Pack

Below, we show the global retailers with the most physical storefronts in 2023:

RankingRetailerTotal Stores WorldwideIndustryHeadquarters
1Seven & I40,454Convenience Store๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan
2FamilyMart24,251Convenience Store๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan
3Lawson21,902Convenience Store๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan
4CP All16,042Convenience Store๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ Thailand
5AS Watson16,014Drug Store๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Hong Kong
6Schwarz Group14,112Discount Grocery๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany
7Carrefour14,014Supermarkets๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France
8Couche-Tard13,505Convenience Store๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada
9Aldi13,475Discount Grocery๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany
10Walgreens Boots Alliance12,961Drug Store๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.

Leading by a wide margin is Japanโ€™s Seven & I Holdings, with 40,454 store locations worldwide.

The retail giant includes the 7-Eleven franchise along with Ito-Yokado, its supermarket chain. While the world’s largest convenience chain traces its origins to Dallas, Texas, the remainder of the U.S-based company (27%) was acquired in 2005 in a $1.2 billion deal that took the company fully private. Today, the company operates in 10 markets globally.

Next in line are Japanโ€™s FamilyMart and Lawson, each boasting over 20,000 locations. For perspective, Walmart, Americaโ€™s largest retail company by revenues, operates 10,569 locations globally.

In Europe, Germanyโ€™s discount grocery chain Schwarz takes the lead, due to its extensive network of stores. Operating across 30 countries and with over 500,000 employees, the no-frills chain stands as a powerhouse. Franceโ€™s supermarket giant, Carrefour, follows closely behind.

Ranking in eighth is Canadian retailer, Couche-Tard, with stores largely concentrated in North America and Europe. Since 2004, the company has made over 60 acquisitions, including 2,200 gas stations from French oil company TotalEnergies in 2023. The company is known for its Circle K brand, which operates in 24 countries globally.

Closing off the list is Walgreens Boots Alliance, the only American retailer in the rankings. The company owns the ubiquitous UK-based Boots brand, which was founded in 1849 in Nottingham. Yet as profits margins face increasing strains, it is looking to sell the subsidiary and instead focus more heavily on its U.S. pharmacy and healthcare businesses. With a presence in 13 countries, the pharmacy chain operates 12,961 stores worldwide.

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