How Many Square Feet Can $1 Million Get You? Dubai vs. the World’s Top Cities

In a globalised world, people have more options than ever when it comes to investment. However, the most astute investors will look where they can maximise their return on investment.

In the globalised system, the success or failure of most markets is relative to the success or failure of other markets. When the US and China have trade disputes, everywhere from Mexico to the Middle East is affected.

Additionally, when China decides to tighten its monetary policy and to curb capital flight, property markets in the UAE, England and a host of other countries see their numbers decline as well.

Global property consultancy Knight Frank looks at how many square feet of space can be purchased with $1 million. The good news is that over the past few years, prices worldwide have remained relatively stable in the main cities surveyed. Of course, when you look at the data more granularly, you will see shifts. Adding on, when assessing the reports over the past three years, we see that one major city has joined the scene; Dubai.

What all the cities have in common is the idea of luxury living, whether it’s in London’s Knightsbridge district, Paris’ 15eme or Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah, these are some of the top destinations for investors to sink their capital into property.

The data assessed in the report is for property transactions that are considered “super-prime” and were completed between 2015 and 2017.

How Many Square Feet can $1 million get you in some of the world's hottest spots?
What a $1 million investment will get you in the world’s top cities

The Top 10 Most Expensive Cities

Consistently, the famously uber wealthy principality of Monaco accounts for having the most expensive real estate worldwide. $1 million USD will get you a mere 183 square feet in Monaco. Across 2015 and 2016, Hong Kong takes the number two spot, offering 215 square feet for $1 million; 237 square feet in 2017.

New York overtook London for the third spot in 2016 and 2017 thanks to the Brexit referendum. Despite the influx of foreign capital into that property market as a result of the depreciated pound, London’s property prices took a dive as analysts speculated about the consequences of the referendum on the overall economy. Nonetheless, you can get 290 square feet in New York or 323 in London for $1 million.

Geneva rounds out the top five most expensive cities offering 431, 452 and 441 square feet from 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively. In 2017 Geneva was overtaken in the top five by Singapore.

In spots six through ten, the only constant is Paris in the middle of the pack offering 592 square feet in 2015, 613 in 2016 and appreciating to offer only 452 in 2017 for $1 million. From 2015 to 2016 and 2017, Singapore jumped from the seventh most expensive to the sixth spot in 2016 and then into the top five in 2017.

From the sixth spot in 2015, Sydney took a dive to the tenth spot in 2016, presumably as a cause of Chinese foreign capital moving elsewhere, and appreciated one place in 2017. China’s biggest and most prosperous city, Shanghai, saw a jump from the eighth spot in 2015 to sixth in 2016 and sliding into tenth in 2017. As for China’s capital, Beijing, it was tenth in 2015, ninth in 2016 and fell into the top 15 in 2017.

The Top 20 Most Expensive Cities

Spots 15 through 20, see a lot more movement than the top 10. Tokyo remains in this category, but sporadically offering 893 square feet in 2015, 980 in 2016 and 818 in 2017. Los Angeles, another popular American destination for both domestic and foreign capital, appreciated year-on-year offering 700 square feet in 2015, 657 in 2016 and appreciating into the top 10 in 2017 with 624.

Miami remains constant over the three years offering just under 861 square feet year-on-year for $1 million. Both Rome and Moscow make appearances in 2015 only to fall off the charts the latter two years meaning property has become more affordable in both of those locales.

It is the last five cities of this top 20 chart that offer the most consistency and also a lot more for your money. Cape Town and São Paulo appear across the three years and offer the most for your money. São Paulo stood at 2,206 square feet in 2015, only to appreciate to 1,894 in 2016 and 1,862 in 2017. Cape Town, the city that saw the biggest appreciation across all three years of any city on the list offered 2,745 square feet in 2015, 2,250 in 2016 and 1,690 in 2017. If you bought a property in Cape Town in 2015 for $1 million, that was a pretty wise investment.

The 5 Most Affordable — Dubai

The newcomer on the block and a global favourite is Dubai. While it didn’t make the chart in 2015, it did the latter two years. In 2016, $1 million could buy you 1,744 square feet, appreciating in 2018 to 1,485. That translates to an apartment in the multicultural Marina neighbourhood, complete with views of Dubai’s Palm.

If you prefer skyline views, that same million will buy you an apartment in the city’s most prestigious address, Downtown Dubai, complete with views of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower. Or you could settle into a 2-bedroom villa in the Anantara on the Palm, with views of the Arabian Gulf.

While $1 million was the standard measurement used, similar logic applies irrespective of how much you have to spend. Ultimately, it is up to the individual and their own circumstances as to where they decide to invest. Some are looking for a quick return, while others can invest for the long haul.

However, in this global economic climate, finding property that provides the maximum return on investment is one of the safest and most lucrative investments one can make.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.