Have you ever dreamed of living in jolly old London or residing within strolling distance of Paris’ Eiffel Tower? Curious what it would cost to snap up a modern apartment in Tokyo or a funky old house in San Francisco?
The short answer: A lot.
On Stride Financial, a London-based financial services company, decided to find out just how much space you can buy in numerous international hot spots for 1 million British pounds — about $1.25 million. The company’s findings are based on its analysis of about 20 residential real estate listings per city.
Over $1 million sounds like a big chunk of cash, and it’d surely get you a mansion in many U.S. cities.
These popular international locations don’t come cheap. Here’s a look what $1.25 million buys you in some of the trendiest global hot spots.
20. Hong Kong
$1.25 million will buy: 17.28 square meters (about 186 square feet)
Breathtaking Hong Kong, with its soaring skyscrapers, popular shopping and delectable dim sum, remains the most expensive place on the planet to buy a home.
This fact shouldn’t surprise any real-estate maven: The New York Times recently reported that a typical home in Hong Kong costs more than 20 times the median salary. Conditions there are so tight that 210,000 Hong Kong residents live in illegally subdivided apartments, some of which are so small they’re called cages and coffins.
Having trouble picturing just how small 186 square feet really is? The Times says a New York City parking space is 153 square feet.
$1.25 million will buy: 91.2 square meters (about 982 square feet)
Ah, life in historic London, with its bobbies, double-decker buses and classically charming high tea. It’s true, you’ll get a lot more home for your money in London than in Hong Kong, but 982 square feet for $1.25 million isn’t exactly Buckingham Palace.
Willing to commute? The English city of Manchester offers four times the floor space for the same price, and as On Stride Financial points out, you can get from Manchester to London in two hours on the train.
And have hope: According to The Guardian, the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics says London house prices have fallen at the fastest rate in 10 years, with the cost of a home in London 4.4% lower in May than one year earlier.
And remember, it remains to be seen how Brexit — the U.K.’s controversial planned exit from the European Union — will affect the region’s economy or real estate market. In fact, upheaval over Brexit is part of why the publishing house Live and Invest Overseas just named the U.K. one of the five best countries in which to buy property while the U.S. dollar soars.
$1.25 million will buy: 98.68 square meters (about 1,062 square feet)
Vive la France! If you long to savor a baguette on the famed Champs-Élysées as a resident of the City of Light … sacrebleu! It’ll cost you.
You’ll get a little more than the same money would buy in London, but barely: less than 100 additional square feet. Although, come on — that’s half of a Hong Kong apartment.
But unlike in its companion capital city across the channel, in Paris the prices aren’t going down. According to statistics from the Chamber of Notaries of Greater Paris, and reported by The Local, Paris property values soared to their highest level ever at the end of 2018.
$1.25 million will buy: 108.56 square meters (about 1,169 square feet)
As On Stride Financial points out, Singapore and Hong Kong are somewhat comparable. Each is a small, business-oriented island with a similar gross domestic product (GDP). But you can stretch out a lot more in your Singapore space. Here, $1.25 million will buy you more than six times the space as in nearby Hong Kong.
Residents aren’t loving it. According to a 2018 Consumer Sentiment Survey taken by real-estate site PropertyGuru.com, a majority of Singaporeans are dissatisfied with the state of their property market, with a whopping 88% citing high prices as their main concern.
$1.25 million will buy: 117.54 square meters (about 1,265 square feet)
You don’t get a lot more square footage for your buck in Tokyo over Singapore. But the Japanese capital has been pricey for a while. Now, as other global hotspots see housing prices soar, Tokyo is in a better place, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to the Journal, Japan’s relatively deregulated housing policies have allowed housing supply to keep up with demand. And, in bustling Tokyo, home prices ended 2018 at around the same level as a decade ago, The Journal says, citing data from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
In 2018, Tokyo saw about 145,000 housing “starts” (of new construction). That’s similar to the total number of new housing units authorized last year in New York City, Los Angeles, Boston and Houston combined.
15. San Francisco
$1.25 million will buy: 139.25 square meters (about 1,499 square feet)
San Francisco is the most expensive U.S. city for homebuyers, according to the On Stride report — even pricier than the infamously spendy New York City. What will buy you a mansion in a small inland California town buys a relatively compact place in the City by the Bay.
Business Insider recently collected dismal facts about housing in San Francisco. Brace yourself, house-hunters: You’ll need to earn at least $172,153 to keep up with mortgage payments on a median-priced house. That might be small potatoes for tech billionaires, but the article reports that just 18% of Bay Area households have the take-home pay to afford that size of home.
Renting doesn’t help. The article notes that median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city hit almost $3,700 in 2019.
$1.25 million will buy: 152.16 square meters (about 1,638 square feet)
Spectacular Sydney, the most populous city in Australia, shows that living Down Under doesn’t mean living cheaply.
But, compared with cities where property prices have been on a steady uphill climb, Sydney is one of the places that’s seen the real estate market stall.
That may be ending. The Guardian newspaper reports that property prices in Sydney were up in late June 2019 for the first time since 2017. That’s (slight) good news for home-sellers, but not so great for buyers.
$1.25 million will buy: 160.62 square meters (about 1,729 square feet)
Dreaming of relocating to scenic Scandinavia? The real estate market in Stockholm has softened in recent years due to government borrowing restrictions and a spike in new construction, according to The New York Times.
In 2018, the average house for sale in the Swedish capital spent about a month on the market, twice as long as before the slump.
Per-Arne Sandegren, the analysis manager at Swedish Brokerage Statistics, an independent housing data firm, tells the paper that housing prices began to fall during the second part of 2017. As of summer 2018, prices were about 8% lower than a year previous.
12. New York City
$1.25 million will buy: 188.63 square meters (about 2,030 square feet)
NYC has been infamously expensive for as long as most Americans can remember — although, take note: San Francisco was even more pricey in On Stride’s report.
CNBC reports that Manhattan real estate prices in 2019 remain soft, with sellers often holding unrealistic expectations of what they can get for their property.
As of April, the city had a nine-month supply of homes, with inventory up 9% over last year. You may have better luck buying a new condo: New York now has a 19-month supply, up 56% over last year.
11. Los Angeles
$1.25 million will buy: 195.45 square meters (about 2,104 square feet)
Ah, Los Angeles, famed for quaint Hollywood bungalows and sprawling Beverly Hills mansions. But it’ll help if you have a movie-star income when you’re California dreamin’.
According to On Stride’s survey, Los Angeles is cheaper to live in than San Francisco or New York City, but that’s not saying much. And zillionaires will always find a luxe home in Hollywood. According to realtor.com, singer Rihanna was recently looking for a tenant willing to pay $35,000 monthly to rent her six-bedroom, 10-bath Hollywood Hills home. (The singer herself hasn’t lived there since 2018.)
10. Frankfurt, Germany
$1.25 million will buy: 235.62 square meters (about 2,536 square feet)
According to Deutsche Bank, housing prices in Frankfurt soared 15% in 2018, and residential space in Germany is in short supply.
And when a butterfly flaps its wings in London, the effect is felt in other parts of Europe. The bank credits Brexit for stimulating demand for housing in Frankfurt.
“Due to the Brexit, 2019 will certainly be an interesting year,” the bank reports.
$1.25 million will buy: 238.3 square meters (about 2,565 square feet)
Toronto and its surrounding metro area is home to a whopping one-sixth of Canada’s entire population, and its real estate prices reflect that popularity.
Housing prices in Toronto are going up, Canadian real estate site Toronto Storeys reports. The market is rebounding in 2019 after a 2017 slump. Fewer homes are on the market, and another recent report shows that only 1 in 5 Toronto families can afford to buy a home.
$1.25 million will buy: 277.12 square meters (about 2,983 square feet)
Relaxed Amsterdam, with its elaborate canals, elegant homes and bicycle culture, is a popular tourist destination. But, if you want to make it your permanent home, bring a fat wallet. More and more expats are discovering the Dutch city, and homes are selling for record prices, Bloomberg reports.
Bloomberg cites numbers from the country’s national statistics bureau showing that more than 15,000 migrants moved there between January and November. Combined with births, the new arrivals pushed Amsterdam’s population up by 1.2%. The increased prices are driving some locals out of the city. Bloomberg says more than 10,000 Dutch citizens left Amsterdam in that period.
7. Cardiff, Wales
$1.25 million will buy: 279.18 square meters (about 3,005 square feet)
Scenic Cardiff, Wales’ capital city, is the first location in this report that gets you more than 3,000 square feet for your $1.25 million. Still, that’s a lot of money, money that could land you a true mansion in many other cities.
It’s not just Cardiff that’s getting pricey. Home prices in all of Wales reached an all-time high in late 2018, Wales Online reports.
But you don’t have to spend millions: The average house price in Cardiff is about $278,000, which could land you a pretty nice-looking four-bedroom terraced home.
$1.25 million will buy: 299.54 square meters (about 3,224 square feet)
Dreaming of relocating to Seoul, South Korea? According to the Korea Herald, Seoul residents would have to save up their disposable income for 21.1 years to buy a house here, compared with 20.6 years in London, 13.1 years in Tokyo and 11.3 years in New York.
Incomes in Seoul are rising too: The newspaper reports that the monthly income of an average three-person household in the city rose 1.5% in 2017. That’s not keeping up with the double-digit increases in apartment costs, and the Korea Herald says the government introduced real estate regulations in 2018 with the aim of curbing prices.
$1.25 million will buy: 356.27 (about 3,835 square feet)
The German capital of Berlin has the fastest-rising housing prices in the world, says On Stride Financial, citing a 2018 report in the Guardian newspaper. Statistics from 2017 show that home prices here jumped by 20.5% that year. The average property price has increased by more than 120% since 2004.
The rising prices are fed by a fast-growing population. According to the Guardian, Berlin’s population has grown by about 50,000 people a year over the past five years. It is expected to reach 4 million by 2035.
4. Birmingham, England
$1.25 million will buy: 357.54 square meters (about 3,849 square feet)
Birmingham (the one in England, not Alabama) is known for its lively music scene, which has produced such artists as Ozzy Osbourne, Duran Duran and The Moody Blues. But homebuyers might be singing a sad song thanks to skyrocketing home prices.
Earlier this year, Birmingham Live reported that real estate prices in the West Midlands city are rising at three times the national average rate. It’ll still cost you more to live in London, but if Birmingham is playing your tune, better sign on the dotted line sooner rather than later.
3. Belfast, Northern Ireland
$1.25 million will buy: 377.74 square meters (4,066 square feet)
The popular HBO show “Game of Thrones” filmed in and around Belfast, Northern Ireland, but if you’re looking for your own castle there, let’s hope you’re as wealthy as the infamous Lannister family.
As the Belfast Telegraph noted earlier this year, Northern Ireland’s capital saw the second-highest rate of increase in house prices in the U.K. over the last year.
2. Manchester, England
$1.25 million will buy: 423.02 square meters (4553 square feet)
The Manchester Evening News reported in May that housing prices in the city had risen 1.83% over the past 12 months, with the average price of a property now about $210,000).
Manchester may not carry the glamour of London, but those looking for a home in England can sure land a lot more space here. The queen may not be your neighbor, but she’s not too far away: According to Virgin Trains, the train commute from Manchester to the capital city is just two hours.
1. Glasgow, Scotland
$1.25 million will buy: 457.17 square meters (about 4,921 square feet)
After some of the cities we’ve looked at, Glasgow, Scotland, seems like a breath of fresh air. “A million-pound flat in Hong Kong would nestle neatly into the master bathroom of your epic pad in Glasgow,” On Stride Financial notes.
But be warned: According to the Financial Times, Glasgow has the fastest-growing housing prices in the United Kingdom, thanks to the arrival of new, high-priced homes. The average home value jumped more than 5% between April 2018 and 2019, compared with a 4% rise in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh.
Could you see yourself living in one of these international cities? Tell us why — and how you’d do it. Post a comment below or at Money Talks News on Facebook.