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Calling All Expat Hpc'ers.... Where Do You Live And What Are House Prices Like Where You Live?

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I've been trying to buy a home in Munich for several years now. I have a very specific postcode I want to live in and flats rarely come up for sale here. It seems most of the properties are owned by professional landlords who are not selling, so you have to wait until an owner occupier wants to sell...

The annoying thing is that prices here are comparable to London, despite the fact that London has a lot more prestige.... admittedly this is not the case in the rest of Germany.

I visited my sister in Singapore and prices in London seemed cheap in comparison....

It seems clear to me that rediculous housing costs are not limited to London, not by a long shot.

So... where do you live and what are house prices like where you live.... especially compared to local wages.

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I've been trying to buy a home in Munich for several years now. I have a very specific postcode I want to live in and flats rarely come up for sale here. It seems most of the properties are owned by professional landlords who are not selling, so you have to wait until an owner occupier wants to sell...

The annoying thing is that prices here are comparable to London, despite the fact that London has a lot more prestige.... admittedly this is not the case in the rest of Germany.

I visited my sister in Singapore and prices in London seemed cheap in comparison....

It seems clear to me that rediculous housing costs are not limited to London, not by a long shot.

So... where do you live and what are house prices like where you live.... especially compared to local wages.

I live in a small seaside town south of Melbourne.

Local house prices are on average about 6 to 7 times annual income (approx). The average house in this area would be about AUD $500 to $600k.

Most people here seem to live on a tight budget although the environment and weather makes things a bit easier than say the UK for example.

Edited by Gwailo

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So... where do you live and what are house prices like where you live.... especially compared to local wages.

Canadian Prairies. I believe the average house price here broke $350,000 late last year.

That's probably about 5x the average household income for people working locally. However, earning $100k+ in the oil fields doesn't seem that difficult, if you're not a moron and willing to work hard.

I'd expect about a 50% fall when the oil money stops coming in; that would take prices back to about where they were relative to wages before the boom.

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Southern California, but probably the cheapest bit of it. $160-170k will buy a reasonable, 1,200 square feet (that is usually how house sizes are described here, not by the number of bedrooms) detached house with a small garden in a safe but not glamorous area, all the way up to $600-700k for a McMansion in a desirable, hilltop part of Redlands or up in the mountains around Arrowhead or Big Bear. But it's still perfectly possible to buy somewhere that is big enough and in a safe enough area to raise a small family for 2-3x average household income, assuming that both partners work.

The reason why the Inland Empire hasn't experienced the sort of HPI that's been seen along the coast is that the regional economy is not in a good state, and hasn't been for over a decade. Households with two partners both earning a typical middle-class income in which at least one doesn't have a long-haul commute are very unusual, and the commuting is hell - two hours in each direction either to LA or Orange County (where all the jobs are). Added to which, the area has a rather negative reputation, as demonstrated by the slang term by which its inhabitants are described.

I work mainly from home with flying visits to clients on 2-3 days per week, and so I probably spend a similar amount of time on the road as a more typical daily commuter in total. For the peace of mind of owning a house outright with no mortgage (albeit a relatively modest one, but it's all we need), the traffic jams are totally worth it for me. Mrs. Ayatollah works at a hospital only four miles away, and so unless crime started to become a serious problem (which it isn't immediately where we are, but San Bernaghetto, as it's known locally, continues to deteriorate and is effectively becoming a mini-Detroit), we're happy where we are.

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I've been trying to buy a home in Munich for several years now. I have a very specific postcode I want to live in and flats rarely come up for sale here. It seems most of the properties are owned by professional landlords who are not selling, so you have to wait until an owner occupier wants to sell...

The annoying thing is that prices here are comparable to London, despite the fact that London has a lot more prestige.... admittedly this is not the case in the rest of Germany.

I visited my sister in Singapore and prices in London seemed cheap in comparison....

It seems clear to me that rediculous housing costs are not limited to London, not by a long shot.

So... where do you live and what are house prices like where you live.... especially compared to local wages.

Zurich here

Prices create a yield of about 3% which is pretty constant globally but then it is a global credit market so not sure what else one would expect

Regarding London being more prestigious than Munich, London is good between the age of 20 & 30 ( i left at 26 but could have partied on for a good few years if it werent for her indoors) but id find it hard to envisage any scenario where London would be preferable to Munich for quality of life after 30 if you are fortunate enough to command your income and have kids

Edited by Maria Gorska

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I'm an expat living in London. Back in Sydney house price is more ridiculous than London.

Last news I read that 23 suburbs in Sydney broke the $1m median price. Truly mad prices compared to what people earn and what I would earn back home.

At least here in London people admitted that we have a bubble, plenty of denials in Sydney: http://m.smh.com.au/money/borrowing/us-experts-claim-property-bubble-is-set-to-pop--but-have-they-missed-something-20140128-31jaz.html

Remarkably I could afford something here. No way in Sydney.

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Asset prices will continue to go up against fiat money, with setbacks on the way (e.g. 2008). We haven't seen the end of fiat yet.

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Budapest, Hungary. You can get a reasonably good swiss-chalet style four bedroom house with large garden in a suburban village (in pretty sub-alpine type countryside about 20-30mins from central Budapest by car or bus) for less than £100,000. In country villages you can get houses for almost nothing. City centre one-bed flats start at around £40k; £60k for something pretty decent.

An English friend of mine rents a cottage near Lake Balaton for about £40 a month; he works online as a consultant for UK companies and only needs to work four hours a week.

However, compared to local wages, the houses aren't that much cheaper than the UK. Hungary's not in a particularly good way economically, but the difference is they are used to poverty here and have better family support structures, frugal lifestyles etc.

Edited by Austin Allegro

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Toronto isn't cheap, MarkG's 5x income is pretty accurate. The headline numbers don't really give the full story though. It's still just about possible for people to afford what most Brits would consider a reasonable place to live somewhere not to far from work in an area that won't get you stabbed or robbed. I don't think that's true of London any more.

A couple of Toronto examples:

1. a nice Victorian 3 bed semi or terrace (around 2000 sqft) can be had in the east of the city 30 mins from Bay Street (local equivalent of Wall Street but much smaller) for 900K CAD (~500K GBP). The nearest equivalent I can think of in London would be Islington where it would cost 3 to 4 times that at a guess.

http://beta.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?PropertyId=14038511

2. a 1 bed flat in a good building (gym, maybe a pool, party room, rooftop terrace etc) next to the waterfront downtown and something like 15 mins from Bay Street can be had for a bit less than 300K CAD (~170K GBP). London equivalent would be the Barbican only with way better building services.

http://beta.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?PropertyId=14076990

Vancouver is totally bonkers though. I'd say the price to income ratio allowing for proximity to jobs is on a par with London.

edit: added links

Edited by TheBlueCat

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My recollection from the 1980s ...

  • Munich is one of Germany's most expensive cities.
  • Renting anywhere in Germany - including Munich - was quite a lot cheaper than the UK. Or you pay a comparable rent and get an order-of-magnitude better place.
  • But buying in Germany would've been staggeringly expensive. Offset by much lower interest rates, but still way out of reach.

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Rhone-Alpes, France. A small 4 bed house would be about 350-400K euros here. Frexample this 3 bed house:-

http://www.seloger.com/annonces/achat/maison/crolles-38/palisses-tuileries-montfort-belledonne/79464265.htm?annoncepg=3&ci=380140&idtt=2&idtypebien=2&org=engine&bd=Li_LienAnn_2

It is on very small grounds and directly on a main road.

A reasonable wage for the area is 40-50K although a lot of people are on 20K/yr. If you earn 50K about half would go in tax and social security depending on no. of kids. married etc. Rental would be around 1200 to 1500 euros a month for such a property.

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Although I've recently moved back to London I had been living in Barcelona for several year. In the heart of Barri Gotic, two streets over from Le Seu Cathedral you can buy a 3 bed flat with terrace for around €250k though the really nice decked out ones go for closer to €350k, these have come down in 6 years from almost double that price and my friends who ramain in BCN think they've further to fall. I think this is incredible value comparing to central London where I work now whereby that gets you 2 bed terrace in zone six.

If you an find work out there, I would recommend it in a flash. Fantastic food/wine/entertainment, street vibe is incredible, artistic and lively town.

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Singapore is a tiny island with real physical constraints on development. Prices are notoriously some of the highest in the world.

Munich rents are from what I've seen perfectly affordable, a decent sized flat in a nice suburb for under €1000 pcm.

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I've been trying to buy a home in Munich for several years now. I have a very specific postcode I want to live in and flats rarely come up for sale here. It seems most of the properties are owned by professional landlords who are not selling, so you have to wait until an owner occupier wants to sell...

The annoying thing is that prices here are comparable to London, despite the fact that London has a lot more prestige.... admittedly this is not the case in the rest of Germany.

I visited my sister in Singapore and prices in London seemed cheap in comparison....

It seems clear to me that rediculous housing costs are not limited to London, not by a long shot.

So... where do you live and what are house prices like where you live.... especially compared to local wages.

Very good topic question as initially I thought that it was just England that was bubbly. I was amazed when I came to Taiwan to find the same, if not worse, situation.. it's pretty obvious that there's a bubble over here. Not just my opinion as Government officials recently reported that Taipei city satisfies their criteria for being in a bubble. House prices in Taipei are currently running at 12 times average income. Other parts of Taiwan are cheaper but compared to local wages still massively overpriced. Average wage is about 50,000Nt per month (1000 pounds). A person I know recently purchased a serious 2 bed rabbit hutch apartment, dark, dingy in an old building for equivalent 140,000 pounds. Taiwan has a huge percentage of property owner occupied at the moment, who knows what the young will do.

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Hong kong- Prices are 10-11 times local earnings. The epicentre of global credit largesse has caused this. Government delivered a host of policy measures to halt price rises which have been successful. e.g special stamp duties/ 15% extra for multiple home owners.

I know colleagues who clear over 10K GBP per month NET and still cant afford a tiny apartment for their family( your looking a a cool million for anything in desirable locations). Its truly bonkers.

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Another expat into the UK and I could afford to buy a house in London (albeit small but enough for the time being :) ) and think I would struggle now to buy in Melbourne. My friends live over an hour commute into Melbourne and pay AUD 500,000 for their homes. They have more space then we do but I'm just over 20 minutes into Victoria.

You will laugh at this but we are actually biding our time here trying to save as much as we can until we can afford to move back to Australia.

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Southern California, but probably the cheapest bit of it. $160-170k will buy a reasonable, 1,200 square feet (that is usually how house sizes are described here, not by the number of bedrooms) detached house with a small garden in a safe but not glamorous area, all the way up to $600-700k for a McMansion in a desirable, hilltop part of Redlands or up in the mountains around Arrowhead or Big Bear. But it's still perfectly possible to buy somewhere that is big enough and in a safe enough area to raise a small family for 2-3x average household income, assuming that both partners work.

The reason why the Inland Empire hasn't experienced the sort of HPI that's been seen along the coast is that the regional economy is not in a good state, and hasn't been for over a decade. Households with two partners both earning a typical middle-class income in which at least one doesn't have a long-haul commute are very unusual, and the commuting is hell - two hours in each direction either to LA or Orange County (where all the jobs are). Added to which, the area has a rather negative reputation, as demonstrated by the slang term by which its inhabitants are described.

I work mainly from home with flying visits to clients on 2-3 days per week, and so I probably spend a similar amount of time on the road as a more typical daily commuter in total. For the peace of mind of owning a house outright with no mortgage (albeit a relatively modest one, but it's all we need), the traffic jams are totally worth it for me. Mrs. Ayatollah works at a hospital only four miles away, and so unless crime started to become a serious problem (which it isn't immediately where we are, but San Bernaghetto, as it's known locally, continues to deteriorate and is effectively becoming a mini-Detroit), we're happy where we are.

TAB,

My Wife and I are in your hood in April, my American Brother is getting married in Oklahoma City and we are flying to palm Springs for 5 days (Heading up the coast to San Francisco after that). I love Palm Springs and know all about the heat factor in Summer but would you recommend it as a place to live/work?

I have been looking at house prices and genuinely classic 3-bed, 1200 sq ft Modern Architecture can be bought for circa $300K, we can pay at least half of that outright with savings. I guess the sticking points are employment (although I have plenty of contacts in the US - not in that area), ease of obtaining a visa and really poor Holiday entitlement. I have worked in the States before as a student and holiday entitlement was my biggest gripe. An alternative is to make a go of it ourselves but from the research I have done, setting up a business as an Alien is nigh on impossible. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Unto.

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Dunno about purchase prices, but here in Istanbul we're renting a 90m2 apartment (2 bed) for about £600pm. Quite expensive by local standards as our neighbourhood (Cihangir) is hipster-central and popular with celebrities. Elsewhere in the city you can rent a reasonable 2 bed for less than £300, and other cities are much cheaper.

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Berlin. £150k will get you a fairly nice 1 bedroom central flat, £250k will get you a really nice 2 bedroom in a trendy location.

Probably quite high on local wage multiples. Berlin has high unemployment and judging by the local population alot of them seem to drink coffee and smoke cigarettes rather than work.

Edited by honkydonkey

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I live in a small seaside town south of Melbourne.

Local house prices are on average about 6 to 7 times annual income (approx). The average house in this area would be about AUD $500 to $600k.

Most people here seem to live on a tight budget although the environment and weather makes things a bit easier than say the UK for example.

I also live along the coast in the out-burbs of Melbourne. Expensive, but you also need one car per person and even taking a crap necessitates driving your car. Unlike where we lived in London, could actually do far more and for many years had no car. In the old days you could always say 'well living in oz is cheap' not any more, people don't even go to the pub any more, well not working people with mortgages, costs around 2x UK prices, and besides the pubs are not worth going in, just supermarket/betting shop type atmosphere with a bar in it.

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Lived in Cape Town for ten years. Bought in the South peninsula in 1998. Sold in 2007 for five times what we paid. We thought we were getting out before the bubble burst, but having looked at the local property sites recently it could now have an asking price of twice what we sold it for. The bubble keeps going in SA. Still reasonable compared to the UK of course, but there are specific pros and cons to living in the Cape.

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