It’s no secret that housing in Australia is expensive. But according to Demographic’s 13th annual International Housing Affordability Survey, Australia is a world leader in “severely unaffordable” housing.

All but four of Australia’s 54 housing markets have been declared unaffordable and Sydney and Melbourne are among the top 10 least affordable major housing markets in the world. The only markets found to be affordable in the country were Gladstone in Queensland and Karratha, Port Hedland and Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

So what’s caused the country to become so expensive?

The survey blames the Australia’s commitment to urban containment policies. These policies aim to curb the growth of urban sprawl by promoting greater density in already existing housing areas.

In other words, high density apartments are replacing housing options in major markets in the country’s capital cities.

Sydney has become the second most expensive housing market in the world, behind only Hong Kong.

Melbourne is ranked the fifth least affordable housing market behind Hong Kong, Sydney, Vancouver, Auckland and San Jose.

Changing Housing Options

As a result of increasing unaffordability in the Australian housing market, there are now more housing options, especially in the country’s major capital cities like Sydney and Melbourne where housing has given way to high rise apartments.

The rise of renting has led to updates in state government policies to allow in favour of improving living conditions for tenants.

Victoria’s state government has been leading the charge, making a number of changes to their rental policies. Among the changes are an end to the practise of bidding wars for properties, limits on rent rises for longer-term leases, more flexible rules around pet ownership and a requirement that reasons be given in order to have tenant vacate.