Surabaya, 26 July 2016 – According to the Global Sample of Cities – a sample representing 70% of the world’s population – the median house price is 4.9 times annual household income in the majority of metropolitan areas, well above the recommended ratio of 3.0 times.

The analysis is part of a preview of the Atlas of Urban Expansion, a partnership of UN-Habitat, the New York University Urban Expansion initiative, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.  It was presented in a press conference at the third Preparatory Committee for Habitat III, by Joan Clos, Secretary-General of the conference and Executive Director of UN-Habitat.

“In 2010 there were 4,231 cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants that represent the Universe of Cities. They account for 70% of the world urban population,” said Dr Clos.  “Out of these cities we have created a Global Sample of Cities made of 200 cities [from which] we extrapolate data for the other cities.”

The research also finds that with the exception of informal housing for Low-and High-Income cities, all other housing types in the market are unaffordable and that public housing is not affordable in any city regardless of GDP per capita.Housing Types with the GDP per capita

Housing at the centre of cities

Other findings include the fact that mortgage rates are higher in developing countries than in developed ones and that different types of housing affect affordability.  For all of these reasons, and to make cities inclusive and livable once more, UN-Habitat recommends that planning puts housing back at the centre of cities.

The research will provide extensive information about the world’s fast-growing cities through satellite imagery, plus analysis of the quantity and quality of urban growth, housing affordability, and the impact of regulations.

The aim is to establish a scientific understanding of how the world’s cities are growing, and to measure performance and identify trends in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda following the Habitat III global cities summit in Quito, Ecuador this October.