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Charting the World’s Major Stock Markets on the Same Scale (1990-2019)

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Major stock markets compared to the S&P 500

Charting the World’s Major Stock Markets

Most investors around the world are familiar with the S&P 500 index.

Not only is it the most widely accepted barometer of U.S. stock market performance, but it’s also been on a 10-year bull run, now sitting at all-time highs near 3,170.

This week, we chart those historical returns, and then use the U.S. benchmark as a backdrop to compare other major stock markets around the world, such as those in Europe, Asia, and Canada.

Putting Them All at Scale

One challenge in comparing global markets directly is that all indices are on arbitrary scales.

To directly compare them, the most natural option would be to transform the data to percentage terms. While that’s all fine and dandy, it’s also a little boring.

To make things more interesting, we’ve collected historical data that goes back nearly 30 years for each index. This was mostly done using Macrotrends, a fantastic resource for historical data. We used November 26th, 1990 as a cut-off date, since that was the earliest data point available for some of the country indices used.

We then transformed all of this data to be on the same scale of the S&P 500, so performance can be directly compared to the common American stock market benchmark.

Comparing Markets Using the S&P 500

Alright, now that we have the same scale for each market, let’s dive into the data:

CountryBenchmarkCurrent Value (in S&P 500 terms)Gain since Nov 26, 1990
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United StatesS&P 5003,168+901%
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Hong KongHang Seng Comp.2,926+824%
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช GermanyDAX 302,913+820%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ CanadaS&P/TSX Comp.1,717+444%
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceCAC 401,160+268%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomFTSE 1001,072+238%
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต JapanNikkei 225315+1%

Note: Data has been transformed to match the scale of the S&P 500, and is current as of December 13, 2019

If you invested $100 in the U.S. market on November 26, 1990, you’d have over $1,000 today.

Over nearly 30 years, the S&P 500 has increased by 901%, which is the most out any of these major indices. If you invested in the German or Hong Kong markets, you’d have fairly similar results as well โ€” each gained more than 800% over the same time period.

Meanwhile, the markets in Canada, France, and the United Kingdom have all increased, but at a far slower pace:

  • In S&P 500 terms, Canada would be sitting at 1,717 โ€” which is where the U.S. market was back in 2013.
  • France would be at 1,160, a mark the S&P 500 last hit in 2010.
  • The United Kingdom would sit at 1,072, also equivalent to 2010 for the U.S. market.

Finally, in S&P 500 terms, the Japanese stock market would be at a lowly 315 points today โ€” roughly where it started 30 years ago. In other words, if you had invested $100 in Japanese stocks in 1990, you’d have gained just $1 over a period of three decades.

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Mapped: The World’s Least Affordable Housing Markets in 2024

See which housing markets are considered ‘impossibly unaffordable’ according to their median price-to-income ratio.

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The World’s Least Affordable Housing Markets in 2024

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.

Many cities around the world have become very expensive to buy a home in, but which ones are the absolute most unattainable?

In this graphic, we highlight a number of housing markets that are deemed to be “impossibly unaffordable” in 2024, ranked by their median price-to-income ratio.

This data comes from the Demographia International Housing Affordability Report, which is produced by the Chapman University Center for Demographics and Policy.

Data and Key Takeaway

The median price-to-income ratio compares median house price to median household income within each market. A higher ratio (higher prices relative to incomes) means a city is less affordable.

See the following table for all of the data we used to create this graphic. Note that this analysis covers 94 markets across eight countries: Australia, Canada, China, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

RankMetropolitan MarketCountryMedian price-to-income
ratio
1Hong Kong (SAR)๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China16.7
2Sydney๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia13.8
3Vancouver๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada12.3
4San Jose๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.11.9
5Los Angeles๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.10.9
6Honolulu๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.10.5
7Melbourne๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia9.8
8San Francisco๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.9.7
9Adelaide๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia9.7
10San Diego๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.9.5
11Toronto๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada9.3
12Auckland๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ New Zealand8.2

According to the Demographia report, cities with a median price-to-income ratio of over 9.0 are considered โ€œimpossibly unaffordableโ€.

We can see that the top city in this ranking, Hong Kong, has a ratio of 16.7. This means that the median price of a home is 16.7 times greater than the median income.

Which Cities are More Affordable?

On the flipside, here are the top 12 most affordable cities that were analyzed in the Demographia report.

RankMetropolitan MarketCountryMedian price-to-income
ratio
1Pittsburgh๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.3.1
2Rochester๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.3.4
2St. Louis๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.3.4
4Cleveland๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.3.5
5Edmonton๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada3.6
5Buffalo๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.3.6
5Detroit๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.3.6
5Oklahoma City๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.3.6
9Cincinnati๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.3.7
9Louisville๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.3.7
11Singapore๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Singapore3.8
12Blackpool & Lancashire๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง U.K.3.9

Cities with a median price-to-income ratio of less than 3.0 are considered “affordable”, while those between 3.1 and 4.0 are considered “moderately unaffordable”.

See More Real Estate Content From Visual Capitalist

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out Ranked: The Most Valuable Housing Markets in America.

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