How Much Real Estate Could You Buy For $1 Million?
“There are three things that matter in the property: location, location, location”
Those are the words of Harold Samuel, a 20th-century British real estate magnate. Generally speaking, it’s a quote that remains true: Property values in the world’s best cities have always been worth a penny.
The shortage of real estate is driven by trends such as urbanization, which is the migration of people to cities. While the earliest examples of cities were built thousands of years ago, it was only recently that the majority of the population began to live in them. In fact, the urban population surpassed the rural population for the first time in 2007.
Of course, certain cities simply have more appeal to the wealthy, and competition in prime real estate can be fierce as a result.
To learn more about the skyrocketing cost of prime real estate in cities, this infographic visualizes data from the Knight Frank International Prime Residential Index (PIRI 100).
What is a million dollars for?
The table below lists the number of square feet a million dollars could buy in various cities. We have included more cities in this list than in the graph to create a more complete comparison.
|Town||Country||Square footage of prime property for $1 million (USD)|
|London||🇺🇸 United Kingdom||329|
|New York||🇺🇸 United States||358|
|the Angels||🇺🇸 United States||454|
|miami||🇺🇸 United States||833|
|Cape Town||🇿🇦 South Africa||2,363|
|Sao Paulo||🇧🇷 Brazil||2,759|
Monacothe most expensive city on this list, it has incredibly limited land with an area of just 0.78 square miles. For context, New York’s Central Park is 1.31 square miles in size.
Second is Hong Kong, which has become notorious for its difficult real estate market. Single 7% of the city is zoned for residential use, pushing many of its citizens to live in micro-apartments of less than 100 square feet. These housing units offer a somber standard of living and are often referred to as “coffin houses.”
On the other side of the spectrum, Hong Kong recently set the record for the most expensive home in Asia. A 3,378-square-foot penthouse sold for $59 million in 2021, which translates to $17,500 per square foot.
What is Prime Real Estate?
You may be wondering what prime real estate is.
Knight Frank defines it as “the most desirable and expensive property in the area, generally defined as the top 5% of the market by value”. This suggests that the prices displayed above are at the higher end of the scale and that more affordable housing is available.
» If you’re interested in urbanization, consider this infographic ranking the 20 largest cities in the world.