The 11 most expensive cities to live in around the world in 2020

bmack@businessinsider.com (Ben Mack)
Hong Kong skyline 2019

AP Photo / Jae C. Hong

  • The 16th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey has revealed the most expensive cities to live in around the world in 2020.
  • The study looked at 309 housing markets in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, and the United States.
  • To produce the ranking, the cities were given a score using the "mean multiple" approach — the median house price divided by the median household income.
  • The most "severely unaffordable major housing markets" are currently in Australia, Canada, China, and New Zealand, while Hong Kong tops the list.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The most expensive cities to live in around the world in 2020 have been revealed in the 16th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.

The study analyzed a total of 309 housing markets in eight countries — Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, and the United States.

To produce the ranking, it looked at data from the third quarter of 2019 using the "mean multiple" approach — the median house price divided by the median household income. The more points a city has, the more expensive it is to live in, according to the ranking.

The survey shows that the most "severely unaffordable major housing markets" are currently in Australia, Canada, China, and New Zealand, which has been the case for a number of years, including last year's report.

Once again, Hong Kong topped the list — the top four are all unchanged from 2019 — while the majority of expensive cities also border the Pacific Ocean.

Scroll down to see the 11 most expensive cities to live in around the world in 2020, ranked by mean multiple in ascending order.

11. Victoria, Canada — 8.1

Victoria Canada snow.JPG

Reuters / Chad Hipolito

While it's the third-most expensive Canadian city to live in, as pricey as it is, Victoria isn't even the most expensive city in British Columbia.

10. London, UK — 8.2

London Skyline

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Any resident can tell you how expensive it is to live in London. According to the data, it's the most expensive city in Europe.

9. San Francisco, California — 8.4

San Francisco

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the United States — but only the third-most expensive in California, according to the data.

8. San Jose, California — 8.5

san jose california

mTaira/Shutterstock

Ahead of Bay Area neighbor San Francisco, San Jose's 2020 ranking is actually down two spots, from sixth in 2019. And it's overall score declined, from 9.4 in 2019 to 8.5 in 2020. Yet it remains the second-most expensive city in the United States to live in.

7. Auckland, New Zealand — 8.6

Auckland waterfront

Ben Mack / Insider

By far New Zealand's largest city, Auckland's overall score of 8.6 was down from 9.0 in 2019. But it still rose two spots, from ninth in 2019 to seventh in 2020.

6. Toronto, Canada — 8.6

skyline toronto cn tower

Rachel Askinasi/Insider

While it didn't even appear in the top 10 last year, its score of 8.6 makes it not only the second-most expensive city to live in in Canada, but the third-most expensive in the Western Hemisphere.

5. Los Angeles, California — 9

los angeles

REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Arguably the world's entertainment capital, Los Angeles' score of 9.0 is down from 9.2 in 2019 — but it still moved up from seventh place, making it the fifth most-expensive city in the world to live in.

4. Melbourne, Australia — 9.5

Melbourne

Kieran Stone/Getty Images

In 2019, Melbourne was also ranked as the fourth-most expensive city in the world to live in. This year, the Australian city's overall score is down by 0.2 points to 9.5.

3. Sydney, Australia — 11

sydney NYE 2020

Peter Parks/AFP/Getty

Also the most expensive city in the Southern Hemisphere to live in back in 2019, Sydney — the largest city in Australia and the wider Australasia region — still has a score in the double digits, though it's down 0.7 points from its 2019 score of 11.7. 

2. Vancouver, Canada — 11.9

Vancouver, Canada

Aolin Chen/Getty Images

The most expensive city to live in in North America and the Western Hemisphere, Vancouver has a score of 11.9 — which is actually down from 12.6 in 2019.

1. Hong Kong — 20.8

Kowloon, Hong Kong 8 1 17_003

Ben Mack / Insider

Hong Kong's score of 20.8 was down from 20.9 in 2019 — but still about nine points higher than anywhere else, making it the most expensive city in the world to live in once again.

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