The only places more expensive to live than some of Australia’s biggest cities are Hong Kong and Vancouver according to a global ranking system.
Sydney ranked third and Melbourne fourth compared to 309 housing markets across eight countries in the annual Demographia international housing affordability survey.
Hong Kong topped the list followed by Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne, Taraunga-Western Bay of Plenty (New Zealand), Los Angeles, Toronto, Auckland, San Jose and five cities tied for 14th place including the Sunshine Coast.
Other Australian regions to make top 50 on the list were Gold Coast 18th, Geelong 24th, Hobart 31st, Adelaide 34th, Fraser Coast 41st, Canberra and Brisbane together at 44th, Perth and Ballarat 49th.
There was only one affordable market in Australia which was Gladstone placing 281st or 29th most affordable city.
The houses were ranked by median multiple (house price divided by income) with a rank of 3 and under classified as “affordable”, while 3.1-4 is “moderately unaffordable”, 4.1-5.0 “seriously unaffordable” and anything classified as 5.1 and over was characterised as “severely unaffordable”.
The top 50 cities ranked above 6, with Melbourne at 9.5, Sydney 11, Vancouver 11.9 and Hong Kong 20.8.
That is a slight improvement in affordability for Sydney which ranked 11.7 last year while Melbourne remained the same.
In contrast, Gladstone ranked 2.8 and most affordable cities Fort MacMurray (Canada) 1.8, Peoria (US) 2.1 and Davenport (US) 2.2.
The report said Australia's five major housing markets were “severely unaffordable” with prices doubling since the early 2000s.
“Despite what has been called the largest Sydney price reduction in 35 years, house prices relative to incomes are more than double the rate of the early 1980s,” report authors Wendell Cox and Hugh Pavletich said.
“In Sydney and Melbourne, median income households need at least three years’ more income to pay for the median priced house than in 2004, when the first Demographia Survey was published.”