Research article

The World Residential Price League

How do the prime price points compare in residential markets across the globe?

The price of prime residential property varies across world markets. In global cities, the typical price of a prime resale (rather than super prime) apartment ranges from $450,000 in Cape Town to ten times as much in Hong Kong at $4.5m. The size of that apartment varies significantly so there is a difference of 15 times in the cost per square foot between small-space Hong Kong and expansive Cape Town.

Hong Kong stands apart as the most expensive city location, on both per square foot and cost per unit. It is 61% more expensive per square foot than its nearest rival, London. Hong Kong is 45% more expensive per London unit ($3.1m) and 55% more per Paris unit ($2.5m). Other top-tier world cities Singapore ($2.3m), New York ($2.1m) and Shanghai ($2.0m) round off the top six most expensive cities globally, costing more than $2m per unit.

Dubai heads the second tranche of cities costing $1m to $2m per property. In this city, prime two bed apartments stand at $1.9m, but on a square foot basis just $800psft. This reflects the large, newly built properties that characterise this market.

Good value can also be found in Milan, Sydney, Venice and Los Angeles where large space standards push the cost per square foot below $650. By contrast, San Francisco’s typical prime two bed price point may only be $1.35m, but smaller space standards mean it is much more expensive on a per square foot basis, topping $1,000psft in this space-constrained city. Geneva also starts to rival the top-tier cities on a floor space basis, for similar reasons.

Some of the world’s top resorts rival the world cities on a cost per square foot basis. Prime, four bedroom villas in the Swiss Alps and in the French Riviera are currently more expensive than apartments in Paris, Singapore and New York on a dollars per square foot basis.

The Swiss Alps is the most expensive location in which to buy a ‘retreat’ or leisure property. A four bed chalet here has a typical price of $4.5m. The Riviera follows at $3.75m for a well located (but not super-prime) villa property. Property here is currently costly on a US dollar per square foot basis ($1,650psft) and reflects the prevalence of more compact properties in this highly desirable location. The prime Algarve comes in third, at just over $3m but is much cheaper by area as typical villas are much larger than in the Alps or Riviera.

Other prime second home markets are relatively close in pricing points, ranging from $2.1m in Barbados, to Tuscany & Umbria ($1.5m) and St Kitts & Nevis ($1.3m) at the lower end.

Figure 15

FIGURE 15City market typical prices: prime two-bed apartment

Figure 16

FIGURE 16Resort market typical prices: prime four-bed villa/chalet

Source: Savills World Research

Prime residential property in Hong Kong is ten times the price of mainstream property

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