ST. LOUIS – When it comes to affordable housing, St. Louis is not only a leader in the United States, but the world as well.
A new report ranks St. Louis as the fourth-best city worldwide on an affordable housing scale. The ranking comes from the 2022 Demographia International Housing report, published on behalf of the Urban Reform Institute and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.
The report assessed dozens of housing markets from larger metropolitan areas across the globe. Research teams collected data from 92 major markets in eight nations.
Each of the surveyed cities received a “median multiple” rating. The metric is based on a price-to-income ratio; the median house price divided by the gross median household income (pre-tax). The markets then received a score that represents how likely homeowners can pay for the house, while still having money left over for other necessities like food, transportation, and health care.
St. Louis received a score of 3.6, tied for fourth-best worldwide with Edmonton, Alberta. Only three U.S. cities ended with a stronger rating in the report.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania received a score of 2.7 and was recognized as the top market for affordable housing in the report. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Rochester, New York also finished with lower scores at 3.3.
According to the report, housing affordability in 2021 is considerably worse worldwide than before. For some markets, their “median multiple” ratings increased by five times compared to nearly a decade ago. The report also says the number of severely unaffordable markets rose 60% in 2021 compared to 2019, the last pre-pandemic year.
“As the pandemic and lockdowns continued into a second year, the movement of households from denser urban neighborhoods to larger homes, often with large yards (gardens) in suburban and outlying areas has continued,” author Wendell Cox wrote in the report. “The result has been to drive up prices at unprecedented rates in many markets. As a result, many low-income and middle-income households who already have suffered the worst consequences from housing inflation will see their standards of living further decline.”
The report ranked Hong Kong, China; Sydney, Australia; and Vancouver, British Columbia as the three least affordable cities worldwide. All had a “median multiple” score of 13.3 or higher.