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HOME SWEET HIGH RISE

Global cities are experiencing a boom in housing prices

A man checks property prices at a realty agency displaying a photo of The Arch, a luxury high rise apartment, at Hong Kong's West Kowloon district
REUTERS/Bobby Yip
Check these prices
  • Camille Squires
By Camille Squires

Cities reporter

Published

As some countries emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, many of the world’s major cities are seeing a boom in real estate prices. Wealthy buyers, especially, have over the last year found themselves with more cash and a desire for more space, driving up demand for new and existing housing across the Asia, Europe, and the US. The rush has led to fears of inflation and housing bubbles among policymakers. In New Zealand, regulators recently tightened mortgage standards in an effort to cool the market.

Let’s take a look at what’s happening with housing prices in cities around the world. Keep in mind, not all locales track housing in the same way. The numbers below reflect recent home value data in each respective place in US dollars.

Median home price in San Francisco: $1,450,000

According to Redfin, San Francisco’s median home sale price in May of 2021 was $1.4 million, a slight decrease from last year. Still, the market remains competitive, with homes staying on the market for an average of 18 days.

Average home price in Hong Kong: $1,990 per square foot

After a dip during the pandemic, Hong Kong’s ultra-expensive real estate market has grown significantly this year. Just this month, a block of 45 of apartments worth $32 million were all sold within a few hours. Last year, the average price reached $1.2 million according to CBRE’s Global Living Report.

Average home price in Singapore: $915,600

Home prices rose sharply in Singapore in the first quarter of 2021, driven in part by low interest rates and demand from foreigners. It was enough for government officials to warn that they may take action to cool the market. CBRE’s Global Living Report shows that the average price was around $915,000 last year, though prices have risen about 3% so far in 2021.

Median home price in Sydney: $735,900

In April, Sydney home prices reached AU$1.3 million, a record according to ABC. Researchers there believe the rapid rise was driven in part by government stimulus.

Average home price in London: $686,600

London’s luxury housing market has been doing just fine, even with foreign investors kept out of town by lockdown measures. According to the UK House Price Index, the average sale price for any home in London in April 2021 was £492,000, 3.3% higher than a year before.

Median home price in New York City: $705,000

According to PropertyShark, prices reached this level at the end of the first quarter of 2021. After an uncertain 2020, in which wealthy people fled the city en masse, New York’s real estate market has heated up in the first half of 2021.

Median home price in Paris: $1,150 per square foot

As France emerges from one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe, it’s seeing a resurgence in the real estate market that experts expect to continue through the rest of the year. Last year, the average home price was $650,555 according to CBRE’s Global Living Report.

Median home price in Buenos Aires: $129,250

The increase in real estate prices isn’t being enjoyed universally by homeowners around the world. In Argentina, where an economic recession and price controls intended to combat inflation compounded the pandemic, prices fell consistently over 2020. According to ZonaProp, the median price for an apartment in January was $235 per square foot, or just over $100,000 for a 550 square foot apartment. This is down from the $260 per square foot it was at in 2019 before the pandemic.

Average home price in Johannesburg: $75,000

Johannesburg’s commercial and residential property sectors are languishing relative to coastal cities in South Africa. According to Property24, the average sales price for a home in 2021 through May was about 1.1 million rand ($75,000), about 25% below the average asking price.

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