10 Most Expensive Cities to Buy a Home

Where you choose to live can make a significant difference to the price you pay for a property. This is often due to the demand for properties in an area and the amenities, schools, work opportunities and leisure activities available. Other factors that can influence the price of homes are transportation links, environmental problems in an area, future development plans, and crime rates. Properties in cities are often more expensive per square meter than those in rural areas. However, there are some cities that are more expensive to live in than others. There are different ways of calculating how expensive a place is to live. While some people calculate this using a ratio of earnings compared to property price, this list is based on the price of property per square meter. Here are the top 10 most expensive places to buy a home in the world.

1. Monaco

The average price per square meter of property in Monaco is a whopping $60,114. This makes it significantly more expensive than anywhere in the world and the best place to search for a property that offers true luxury. Many of the richest people in the world have properties in Monaco, either as their primary residence or a second home.

2. London, United Kingdom

As the capital city of England, London is an extremely desirable place to live. It is home to many of the major UK tourist attractions and the headquarters of many major companies are based in this city. These are just two of the factors that attract people to the city and drive up the prices. The price per square meter for property in London is approximately $34,531. Bizarrely, even though demand for properties in London is so high, there is a large number of houses and apartments that are empty for most of the year. This is because the rich and famous like to have a base in the capital but do not use it as their full time residence.

3. Hong Kong, Hong Kong Island

The low supply and high demand, the tax friendly economy, land development and mainland developers are all factors that contribute to the high cost of property in Hong Kong. Prices for property in Hong Kong Island currently cost an estimated $25,551. An apartment of 120 square meters would rent for over $7,000 per month.

4. New York City, United States

The cost of buying property in New York means that owning their own place is something that many people living in the city can only dream about. New York is a city with a great vibe, excellent shopping areas, high rates of employment and plenty of activities for leisure time. These elements combined make it a desirable place to live. As the demand is high, properties are at a premium. This has driven prices for New York property to a high of $17, 191 per square meter. Just like London, many properties are empty for large portions of the year as rich people want to have a base in the city but prefer to live full-time elsewhere.

5. Tokyo, Japan

You can expect to pay around $16,322 per square meter if you want to buy a property in Japan’s capital city. One of the simplest explanations for the high cost of living in Tokyo is simply that they have limited land and the city is highly populated. However, there are many other factors that come into play. There is a certain ‘snob’ element of wanting to live in the capital over other areas of the country. Some reports suggest that cartels, corruption and collusion have also played a part in the soaring property market in Tokyo.

6. Moscow, Russia

Inflation in Russia has significantly impacted on house prices and saw them rise significantly although they are now on the decline. This does not mean that this has become an affordable place to live as it is still ranked in sixth position on the world’s most expensive places to live. The price per square meter for property in Moscow is around $16,021. After Moscow, St. Petersburg is the most expensive city to live in Russia.

7. Mumbai, India

While the overall real estate market in India is slowing down, this is not the case in Mumbai where property prices are soaring. One of the reasons for the property prices is the geography. It is surrounded by water on three sides. Not only does this make it appealing to prospective residents, it also means that opportunities for development are limited putting properties in high demand. In this city, you can expect to pay $15,525 per square meter for a property. Alternatively, you can rent a 120 square meter apartment for around $2,275.

8. Geneva, Switzerland

Swiss Nationals want to live in Geneva for the work opportunities, the cosmopolitan atmosphere, and the quality of living. People looking for second home are also attracted to this city. However, buying a property in Geneva comes at a cost. If you are looking for a property in Geneva you will pay $15,495 per square meter.

9. Vienna, Austria

In the last six years, property prices have risen in Vienna by around 39%. Similarly, the cost of renting properties has also risen by approximately 21%. There are not enough properties available to meet demand and this is the predominant cause of such high price rises in the city. Property in Vienna now costs $14,952 per square meter on average.

10. Paris, France

Paris is the most expensive place to live in France and is the tenth most expensive place to live in the world. Inflation in the property market is continuing in Paris with prices rising by 4.4% in just one year. A square meter of property in Paris is valued at $14,100. The central neighborhoods in the city are the most expensive places to buy a home while it is possible to purchase properties for less in the suburbs of the city.

New York and San Francisco are two of the most popular cities in America and also rank among the most expensive. So, there is a common debate about which city is better and why.

Both places have a lot to offer residents, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. While New York has an energy and diversity that you won’t find anywhere else, San Francisco tends to be cleaner and more laid back. Here is a side-by-side comparison of New York vs. San Francisco.

Cost of Living

Both cities feature a cost of living that is much higher than the national average. However, New York is slightly more expensive. The cost of living in New York is 187% higher than the national average, whereas, in San Francisco, it’s only about 116% higher. The median price of a home in all 5 boroughs of New York City is over $740,000, and in Manhattan, it’s closer to $1.3 million. In San Francisco, the average home price is around the same at 1.3 million, but there are other cities nearby in the Bay area that are cheaper. San Francisco has a better unemployment rate at about 5.9%, compared to 8.8% in New York City.


By most standards, San Francisco has better weather. San Francisco’s prime location in Northern California along the bay gives it a mild climate that is temperate all year round. It rarely gets too hot or too cold, and the rainfall is minimal (snow is nonexistent). On the other hand, New York experiences a full range of seasons. The spring and fall are great times to be in New York, but the summer and winter can be brutal. Plus, it rains 47% more in New York than in San Francisco. Those who like seasons may be more drawn to NYC because of the romantic quality of the fall or the energy of the spring after a long cold winter. But by most metrics, San Francisco offers a consistently more pleasant climate year-round.

Public Transportation

New York City is famous for its public transportation, which in most respects is faster and more efficient than in San Francisco. New York is the city that never sleeps, and part of that is made possible by the MTA system, which runs through the night. Any time of day, you can catch a subway train or bus in New York. Plus, New York is set up on a grid that makes it easy to get across town quickly. San Francisco’s Muni system is also decent and offers a combination of buses, trains, and cable cars. But more residents tend to drive in San Francisco because it’s an easier city to navigate in a car. Plus, the Muni doesn’t run all night.

Job Opportunities

Both cities offer a variety of job opportunities within many competitive fields. But they also attract slightly different industries that shape the job landscape. New York tends to offer a bit more job opportunities in various industries, including finance, law, real estate, medicine, and tech. San Francisco is pretty dominated by the technology sector, but there is a variety of disciplines within that space. Plus, on average, jobs in San Francisco pay 3.8% more than in New York City.

Cuisine & Lifestyle

Both cities have a lot to offer regarding culture and cuisine. If you’re looking for diversity, then New York is better. It offers some of the best restaurants in the world from nearly every ethnic group under the sun and features a distinct melting pot culture that is unlike any other city in the world. San Francisco doesn’t offer quite the same level of variety but does have some of the best Asian food in the country. In terms of nightlife, New York offers glitz and glam and unparalleled energy. But it can also get expensive and irritating to have to cram into a packed bar, which is why many prefer the lowkey vibe of San Francisco.

Crime Rates

While both are relatively safe for a major city, San Francisco has a higher rate of property crime and violent crime than New York. Based on a crime scale compiled using FBI data, San Francisco scored 79.2 for property crime and 39.6 for violent crime. New York scored 24.9 for property crime and 28.2 for violent crime. New York is often ranked as one of the safest large cities in the US. Even though it’s experienced a resurgence of crime due to the pandemic, it’s still a relatively safe city if you take the right precautions. Plus, San Francisco is notorious for its homeless population, which contributes to the higher rate of crime.

City Culture

New York is much more fast-paced and features a culture that is more centered around work and efficiency. San Francisco, in comparison, is much more laid back and offers a better work-life balance. New York has more world-famous cultural attractions and a dizzying array of recreational activities available at any time of the day. But San Francisco offers easier access to nature and beaches with a slower pace of life that is more relaxed than the hustle and bustle of New York City.

Commute Times

Commute times in New York are slightly worse than in San Francisco, although it’s pretty close. According to a research study conducted by the US Census Bureau in 2017, the average commute time in New York was 35.9 minutes, whereas in San Francisco, it was 32.1 minutes. However, commute times in New York City tend to have a greater range with more 10 minutes commutes and 40-50- minute commutes compared to San Francisco, which featured far more 20-30-minute commutes overall.

Quality of Life Index

San Francisco has a better quality of life index with a score of 156, which is considered high, compared to New York’s score of 138, which is considered moderate. This is based on an index created by Numbeo, which ranks the quality of life based on factors such as purchasing power, safety, health care, climate, pollution, traffic, and more. While New York has a lot to offer in terms of culture in opportunity, it is home to over 8 million people, which impacts things like traffic and pollution. Plus, it’s more expensive and offers a harsher climate.


Ultimately, which city is better is a matter of personal preference. Both cities have different pros and cons that are attractive to different residents. New York is the cultural and financial capital of the world and offers a wide range of opportunities that you won’t find anywhere else. But San Francisco is the crown jewel of the West Coast and offers many of the benefits of New York without the crowds and the harsh weather. So, it all comes down to whether you prefer sunshine and sandy beaches or high fashion and a melting pot culture.

Buying a condo in New York City is a dream for millions of people. If you’re interested in purchasing an apartment in a condominium building and wondering how to do it, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the process.

With mortgage rates at record lows, it’s a great time to buy an apartment in NYC. And if you’re a buyer who values convenience and flexibility, owning a condo in NYC is likely the best option for you. Here are the 12 steps to buying a condo in NYC.

Figure Out Your Budget and Financing

The first step in buying a condo in NYC will be setting a budget for your purchase. You’ll need to know how much you can afford or want to spend before starting your search.

If you plan on financing, you should start looking at lenders and obtain a mortgage preapproval. The earlier you have this, the better.

Hire An Agent

You’ll want someone to represent your interests when buying a condo in NYC, so you’ll want to hire an agent. While you may be able to start searching for and viewing apartments without an agent, you’ll definitely want to hire one before it’s time to make an offer.

If you’re wary of agents that charge excessive broker fees, you can always work with an agent who offers a buyer commission rebate. Rebate agents have lots of experience and will cut you a check for around 2% of the purchase price.

Find Your Dream Home

For most buyers, finding their dream home starts with searching NYC condos for sale online, but a real estate agent can also help you through the process by sending you listings that meet your search criteria. If you’re unfamiliar with the city or unsure of which neighborhood you want to live in, having a buyer’s agent helping from the get-go will be invaluable.

The search process will typically involve a lot of in-person tours and open houses. Even in a Covid-19 world, it’s best to set foot inside a home to make sure it’s the right fit. After all, a virtual tour won’t always give you insight into if the condo feels right or if the upstairs neighbor is noisy.

Prepare and Make an Offer

The next step in buying an apartment in NYC is preparing your offer. Before deciding how much to offer on the condo, ask your agent to perform a comparable market analysis. The CMA will compare the condo you’re interested in purchasing to similar apartments in the neighborhood.

Your offer should include any contingencies. In some cases, you may also need to submit a REBNY financial statement.

Perform Due Diligence

After the negotiating is completed and you and the seller come to terms, you’ll get an accepted offer, and a deal sheet will be drawn up. At this point, you should have found a real estate attorney who will represent you.

Once your attorney receives the deal sheet, it will be time to perform due diligence on both the apartment itself and the condo building. This includes looking at the building’s finances or any pending litigation involving the property.

Sign the Contract

Assuming no issues arise during the due diligence process, and that your attorney is happy that the contract and its terms are in your best interest, it’s time to sign the contract and put down your earnest money deposit. This deposit is typically 10% of the purchase price and is held in escrow. The seller’s attorney will confirm receipt of the earnest money deposit, and the seller will countersign the contract and send back a fully executed copy.

Close on Your Mortgage

Assuming you’re financing the apartment, the next step to buying a condo in NYC is closing on your mortgage. If you haven’t already locked in a rate, you’ll do that, and then start working with your lender to obtain a commitment letter. A commitment letter essentially states that your loan will be funded, although it may have contingencies attached. Usually, these are related to the apartment’s appraisal (which will likely take place after you receive the commitment letter) or to you keeping your job.

This can take some time, so it’s best to get the process started early, ideally right after your contract is fully executed.

Title Search and Title Insurance

Once you’ve received a commitment letter, it’ll be time to work on getting a title report. Completing the title search typically takes 1 to 3 business days. When you buy a condo in NYC, title insurance is also required, and it will protect you against any unforeseen issues that may arise related to the apartment’s title.

Prepare and Submit Your Condo Board Application

Unless you’re buying a sponsor unit, you’ll likely have to submit a condo board application, which will mostly consist of financial statements and documents. The board package for a condo will be a lot less intense than what you’d need to submit if you were buying a co-op, and you don’t have to worry about the board denying you. While they technically have a right of first refusal, condo boards essentially never exercise it as it would mean they’d have to buy the apartment for the same price you agreed to pay. Getting approved by the condo board is just a formality.

Clear to Close

The next step is getting a clear to close letter from your mortgage lender, which will typically be sent to your attorney from the bank’s attorney. Once you receive this letter, you can schedule the closing. Choosing the closing date can take a bit of coordinating, as quite a few people will need to attend.

Prepare for Closing

A few days before closing, you’ll receive a closing disclosure statement, which you must receive at least 3 days before closing. This is a standard form that details your loan terms and the closing costs you’ll be paying.

You’ll also receive instructions related to the checks you’ll need to cut, all of which are required to be certified or cashiers checks. If you don’t want to deal with getting the checks yourself, you can also wire the money for the closing to your attorney.

Final Walk-Through

Before going to the closing table, you’ll want to perform a final walk-through of the condo. This typically happens the same day you close, but if your schedule doesn’t allow it, you can also perform it a day or two early. The final walk-through is when you’ll want to make sure everything in the apartment is in working order and that any required repairs have been made.


The actual closing will typically take about two hours to complete and is attended by all the parties. This means the seller, buyer, attorneys, real estate agents, and lender will all be there.

Make sure you bring the checks and your ID and be prepared to sign a lot of paperwork.

How Long Does It Take to Buy A Condo In NYC?

It usually takes between 30 and 60 days to close on a condo in New York City. You should also factor in the time it will take you to find a suitable home. Most buyers will spend at least another month or two searching NYC condos for sale online and going to open houses and private showings. That means it typically takes anywhere from two to six months to buy a condo in NYC.

Is Buying A Condo in NYC a Good Idea?

Buying a condo is a great idea if you want the flexibility that comes with owning a condo or if you’re a foreign buyer. There are many benefits to buying a condo, including their flexible sublet policies, friendliness towards foreign buyers and investors, and their tendency to appreciate in price. Another perk is that NYC condos tend to have lower monthly common charges and maintenance fees than co-ops.

If you live in New York City, you know that few things are cheap or easy. An overriding characteristic of the city is that even mundane tasks can be difficult, and everyday things expensive. When it comes to remodeling and renovation work in New York City – neither of which is routine – it’s a complicated and time-consuming undertaking made more so when it’s being done in Manhattan.

The key to a successful renovation in New York City is planning, money, and lots of both. Because of the city’s aging and, in some cases, historic housing stock, what is a relatively straightforward process elsewhere, is here akin to planning the D-Day invasion, and not an undertaking for the weak of heart or those with little patience.

Despite D-Day’s meticulously laid out plan, unexpected hurdles, unseen adversaries and bad weather threw it way off course. The same fate awaits many who undertake a major NYC renovation.

That said, the process can be successfully managed, and it doesn’t have to drain your bank account or turn you into a raving lunatic.

NYC Home Renovation Tips

Allocate Enough Money To Do It Right

At the outset, homeowners need to take a serious look at their budget. They need to sharpen their pencil and figure out what they are willing to spend, and then increase it by at least 10%. New York City is perhaps the most expensive place in the U.S. to do renovations. This is not the time to be penny wise and pound foolish. After all, you’re going to be living with this stuff for years and it will trash your bank account if you try and retrofit a “fix” after the renovation is complete. Do it right from the outset by allocating adequate funds.

Find an Experienced Contractor, Architect and Engineer

Picking the right person or firm to do the work is critical. Find a contractor, architect, and/or engineer who has experience – and references – in doing renovation jobs in New York City. Don’t choose someone who only does suburban tract homes to do the work in your 1960’s NYC co-op apartment. There are plenty of people who have that NYC experience. Check out their references, and don’t be shy about calling them personally.

Importantly, try to find a contractor who has all trade workers in-house, instead of relying on an array of casual sub-contractors. An electrician who shows up late can halt all work until he arrives. Nothing hurts more than to see workers lounging around and still being paid.

Develop a Plan and Sketch Out a Timetable

With your contractor, lay out a detailed plan and timetable. This gives everyone a roadmap and milestones to adhere to. It also manages expectations.

This plan will be one of a number of items that will be given to the building’s Board of Directors so that they can approve it, or as many tell it, pick it apart.

Secure Approvals From the Building’s Board of Directors

This is where things sometimes get gummed up. The building’s Board has to approve the plan before work commences. They may have an outside engineer-consultant review the proposal and advise the Board.

The Board’s primary responsibility is the well-being of all tenants. Construction work is disruptive. The Board will strive to make it less so. Almost every building in NYC has rules about when work can commence, which elevators can be used, and when work must stop. Builders and homeowners who violate those rules are in for trouble. Complaining neighbors can drive the Board to investigate the problem and delay work from resuming.

Securing City Building Permits

Once the Board has approved the renovation plan; City permits must be obtained. Not every renovation requires a permit, however. For example, refinishing floors, painting, retiling, and replacing lighting fixtures don’t need City building permits. Pretty much everything else does. Things like taking down walls, remodeling a kitchen or bathroom and installing new windows all, requires a building permit. New York City’s Department of Buildings is the office that issues these permits. It sometimes takes several weeks, or longer for permits to be issued. Once building permits have been secured, and work is underway, building inspectors will occasionally stop by and check the work.

Sometimes nasty little surprises occur. Rotting wires, sagging beams, and leaky pipes can all throw a wrench into a homeowner’s budget and timetable. Anything uncovered that is sub-standard, in need of repair or replacement, must be addressed immediately. Be sure to be prepared for this, particularly if the building is old or hasn’t been adequately maintained.

Recheck Your Insurance

Your current homeowners and liability insurance may not cover unforeseen problems relating to a renovation. It’s not uncommon for mistakes to be made and for workers to get hurt on the job. In this age of out of control litigation, homeowners must be prepared for the worst, and hope for the best.

Don’t Make Major Changes In the Middle Of a Renovation

If you ever saw the 1990’s Academy Award-winning film “Bugsy” about the famed gangster who founded Las Vegas, you might recall that making major changes in the middle of construction has its downsides. Bugsy’s demise – or rather assassination – came about because he kept making changes to his hotel and casino in the middle of construction. Delays and cost overruns drove his backers – the New York Mob – to whack him. Too bad because when the hotel was finally completed and became an overwhelming success and put Las Vegas on the map. However, it cost several times its original budget and put poor Bugsy in his grave.

While changing things in the middle of a New York City renovation may not kill you, it will greatly delay its completion and add thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, to the project. Changing things after they have been planned for and approved, is a real nightmare that should be avoided under almost all circumstances.

Keep Your Fingers Crossed

If you have a good luck charm or a rabbit’s foot, this is a good time to pull them out. While a little luck can go a long way when it comes to New York City renovations, proper planning, and adequate funds are better predictors of a positive outcome.

When the dust has cleared, the new kitchen installed and the bedrooms completed, all of the hassles that accompany a NYC renovation will be quickly forgotten. All the hassle and mess, in the long run, is well worth it.

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