Can You Afford the Most Livable City in the World?

There's practically nothing not to love about Melbourne — it's got beautiful architecture, great public transportation, excellent hipster activities, amazing cultural institutions, that glorious bay and its beaches... All of these have helped crown the second-most populous city in Australia as the world's most livable for seven years running, according to the Economist's Global Livability Ranking.

One major problem, though: Melbourne is also the world's sixth most expensive city, at least in terms of housing. According to the New Zealand-based Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, the United States hasn't done much better overall. Overall, the DIH classifies its major housing markets as moderately unaffordable, using a ranking derived by dividing the city or region's median house price by its gross annual median household income. Per the study, "Among all housing markets, 83 are rated affordable, 111 are rated moderately unaffordable, 56 are rated seriously unaffordable, and 36 are rated severely unaffordable."


Some of the country's most expensive housing markets come as no surprise, including Honolulu, Boston, and San Francisco, which is considered the world's seventh worst housing bubble risk. But the survey isn't all bad news. In fact, the 10 most affordable major housing markets in the U.S. have some real hidden treasures on the list:

  1. Rochester, N.Y.
  2. Buffalo, N.Y.
  3. Cincinnati
  4. Cleveland
  5. Pittsburgh
  6. St. Louis
  7. Oklahoma City
  8. Indianapolis
  9. Grand Rapids, Mich.
  10. Kansas City, Mo.

The rise of the gig economy and remote workplaces means you aren't necessarily tied to off-the-charts expensive cities like New York and Los Angeles. If affordable, high-quality housing, along with sweet spots like Broad Ripple, Over-the-Rhine, and Westport, sound right up your alley, consider branching out — there's a whole world to live in out there.