This American City Is 'Impossibly Unaffordable'

Ferry to San Jose Island in Texas
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  • The Demographic International Housing Affordability Report indicates that some U.S. cities are “impossibly unaffordable.”

The Demographia International Housing Affordability report examines home prices worldwide. Its metrics indicate that some are “impossibly unaffordable.” Several U.S. cities make the list, led by San Jose, which is also on several other lists of places where housing prices are highest in America.

The median price-to-income ratio is the metric to pick “impossibly unaffordable” cities, which the authors call “median multiple.” Researchers looked at every developed country’s market worldwide. The US had five of the top 10, followed by Australia, which had three.

The United States also had several of the most affordable cities. The authors wrote, “ In the US, the most affordable market was Pittsburgh (PA), with a median multiple of 3.1, followed closely by Rochester (NY) and St. Louis (MO-IL) at 3.4, with Cleveland (OH) at 3.5.”

At the high end, San Jose’s multiple was 11.9. It was followed by Los Angeles at 10.9, San Francisco at 9.7, and San Diego at 9.1. Honolulu, Miami, and New York were also near the top of the list. (This city has the most expensive homes.)

The findings are not surprising. The National Association of Realtors releases a quarterly list of median sales prices by city. Last quarter, San Jose topped the list at $1.84 million. It was followed by Anaheim (part of LA) at $1.35, San Francisco at $1.3, and Honolulu at $1.09. These cities are “probably affordable” for only the rich.

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