UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index 2018

Find out what property prices have been doing.

27 Sep 2018
Share this page

Start exploring the data by using our interactive Global Real Estate Bubble Index to track the risk of housing bubbles in five global financial centres. Hong Kong tops our list in 2018.

UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index 2020 out now

Find out which cities have the greatest housing bubble risk and discover the latest housing market trends

Identifying a bubble

Price bubbles are a regularly recurring phenomenon in property markets. The term “bubble” refers to a substantial and sustained mispricing of an asset, the existence of which cannot be proved unless it bursts. The UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index gauges the risk of a property bubble on the basis of such patterns.

Where is the greatest bubble risk in 2018?

Bubble risk appears greatest in Hong Kong, Munich, Toronto, Vancouver, London and Amsterdam. Major imbalances also characterize Stockholm, Paris, San Francisco, Frankfurt and Sydney.

This year's study highlights increasingly strained affordability. Buying a 60m2 apartment in most world cities exceeds the budget of most people who earn the average annual income paid in the highly skilled service sector.

Prices continue to soar, but in half of the cities in the study, housing markets are booming with inflation-adjusted prices rising at least 5% in the last four quarters. However, in the other half of the cities house prices were stalling or declining.

Global Real Estate Bubble Index 2019 is now live

Key takeaways from this year's study

35% increase in house prices in last 5 years

Over the course of the last five years, house prices in major cities have increased by 35% on average.

First cracks have begun appearing

Prices slip into the red: house prices declined in half of last year’s bubble risk cities.

22 years of working to afford a flat in Hong Kong

You need to work 22 years to afford a 60m2 flat in the Asian metropolis. Ten years ago it was just 12 years.

Why does this matter?

We consider where you need to work the longest to buy a flat

If you're looking to buy a flat, the UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index provides a good indication of price-to-income levels. Hong-Kong has the highest price-to-income ratio, followed by London, Paris and Singapore. If you dream of days eating pasta, you will need to work 6 years to afford a 60m2 flat in Milan. Or if a cup of tea is more of what you fancy, you'll have to work over 15 years to afford the same size flat in London.

For more detail and focus on select cities download the full report

Did you enjoy this read?

Recommended for you

Explore cost of living in 77 cities around the world

Our Prices and Earnings study measures how much people earn and how much the items in their average shopping basket cost, and compare the two to come up with our purchasing power index. Put simply, it's a ranking of earnings versus prices.