Here’s what $1 million buys you in real estate around the world

When it comes to real estate, $1 million doesn’t go as far as it used to — especially in the world’s top cities.

In Monaco, the world’s most expensive city on a per-square-foot basis, $1 million gets you 162 square feet of prime real estate, according to a report from real estate brokerage firms Douglas Elliman and Knight Frank. Basically, it’s a one-bedroom — with only the bedroom.

Hong Kong ranked as the second-most-expensive city, with $1 million buying 226 square feet. London ranked third with 323 square feet, while in New York City, $1 million buys 344 square feet.

The report defines “prime” property as “the most desirable” in a city, or in the top 5% of market value. So you can find cheaper property in each city. But the “prime” property measure is useful for looking at the costs of property for the luxury buyers.

The least expensive city in the world for luxury buyers is Sao Paulo, Brazil, where $1 million gets you a whopping 2,174 square feet. The next cheapest is Cape Town, South Africa, where you get over 1,800 square feet for your million.

When it comes to the favorite city of the world’s wealthy, however, New York tops the list, according to the report. The Knight-Frank City Wealth Index looks at a series of metrics — including the population of rich people, investment climate, lifestyle — to determine the top city among the world’s wealthy. New York beat out London, winning the top grades for wealth levels and investment.

London ranked second on the top cities for the rich, followed by Paris and Hong Kong. Eight of the top 20 cities for the rich were in North America, with Los Angeles ranking fifth and Chicago ranking sixth.

The report also looked at the cities around the world with the best price performance for prime real estate in 2019. Frankfurt topped the list, with 10.3% growth, followed by Lisbon at 9.6% and Athens at 7%. The worst-performing city was Rome, with 2% growth, with Lake Como also having 2% growth.

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