The question of whether to buy or rent can have very different answers depending on where you live. There’s been a big split between housing markets that had a brief decline during the great recession and are now beginning to overheat, and those that are still in the midst of a very slow recovery.
In Japan on the other hand, prices are still in the basement. Here’s the spread in price-to-rent ratios around the world, according to the IMF:
The overall affordability rankings are mostly similar, though Canada loses the top spot.
Belgium’s housing market didn’t really suffer much of a downturn in the first place. Now rising prices, a particular boom in Brussels, and a hands-off policy on mortgage regulation are combining to create the world’s highest price-to-income ratio. Some are moving across the border to the Netherlands (paywall) to avoid the overpriced market: