These California cities are among world's top 10 'impossibly unaffordable' cities in 2024

Los Angeles isn't the most "impossibly unaffordable" city in the world, according to a new report, but it is one of four California cities that ranked among the top 10. 

The annual Demographia International Housing Affordability report led by Chapman University rated middle-income housing affordability in 94 major cities across eight countries. To get the results, analysts first looked at housing prices in relation to income, then divided that by the median house price. According to Demogpraphia, since it first started publishing the list in 2005, this is the first year a new category of "impossibly unaffordable" was added to represent the housing markets. Previously, the survey had peaked at "severely unaffordable." 

Hong Kong took the top spot as the world's most "impossibly unaffordable" city, a title it has held on to for 14 consecutive years. It scored a median 16.7, ranking as the only location in Asia in the top 10. Hong Kong was also found to have the lowest home ownership rate at 51%. 

SUGGESTED: Here's how California's median income compares to the rest of the country

Four California cities made the top 10: San Jose, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.  

The only non-California city in the top five nationwide was Honolulu, Hawaii.

Here's a look at the full list of top 10 "impossibly unaffordable" cities in the world:

  1. Hong Kong SAR
  2. Sydney, Australia
  3. Vancouver, Canada
  4. San Jose, USA
  5. Los Angeles, USA
  6. Honolulu, USA
  7. Melbourne, Australia
  8. San Francisco, USA and Adelaide, Australia
  9. San Diego, USA
  10. Toronto, Canada

Other "severely unaffordable" markets in California include Sacramento and Fresno, according to the study. On the other end of the spectrum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ranked as the country’s most affordable city for housing.

SUGGESTED: LA remains the least affordable housing market in America

Researchers point to the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the driving factors that pushed the increase in unaffordability worldwide.

To see the full study, tap or click here.