HOUSING affordability is improving but Australia is still the second most expensive country to buy property, according to a recent global survey.
However, economist Dr Andrew Wilson has criticised the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, saying that comparing the Australian housing market to others was like making comparisons with Jupiter.
The ninth annual Demographia survey, which looked at 337 metropolitan markets in seven countries, shows that when it comes to buying property, on a national level, only China is more expensive due to the highly competitive Hong Kong market.
The report says that rising incomes and flat or declining house prices had seen a slight improvement in Australia's affordability.
However, each of the five major markets continues to be severely unaffordable, reflecting vastly overpriced housing, it says.
The survey uses a methodology called the "median multiple", which is the median house price divided by gross before tax annual median household income to rate a country's housing affordability.
A rating of more than 5.1 is considered "severely unaffordable" and Australia scores 5.6.
Not surprisingly, Sydney is the least affordable, with a median multiple of 8.3. Melbourne scores 7.5, Adelaide 6.5, Perth 5.9 and Brisbane 5.8.
The survey finds that Sydney is the third most unaffordable major market after Hong Kong and Vancouver in Canada.
But Dr Wilson, the senior economist at the Fairfax-owned Australian Property Monitors, questioned the validity of the survey by making world comparisons.