Malaysia is a relatively affordable place to live, when it comes to residential property. While we might gasp in awe at the price of a luxury bungalow in Damansara Heights, the truth is that on a global scale, we’re pretty lucky to live where we are.
Aside from all the other awesome stuff about Malaysia, it’s nice to live in a country where property prices mean we can all dream of working hard and buying a home.
In the world’s most expensive cities for residential property, that’s not always the case. Thanks to a fascinating 2020 report by real estate firm CBRE, we can dive deep into exciting insights on the world of global property.
It might shock you to know that 5 of the 10 most expensive cities in the world are actually right here in Asia!
Let’s take a look at the top 10 in order from most expensive down, and compare how they look on a global stage with average property prices, and year-on-year price growth in 2018-2019.
So, it's time to strap on your 'black gold' credit card, and get ready for some high-dollar house prices!
1) Hong Kong
Average Property Price: USD1,254,442
Year-on-year Price Growth: +4.70%
With an average property price of USD1,254,442, the financial hub of Hong Kong is officially the most expensive property market on the planet!
It’s no surprise that Hong Kong hits these dizzying property prices, given the unique combination of major global financial centre and significant population density.
With big banks and big property demand, house prices are really soaring! Of course, not every house is equal, and there are a range of factors which could affect the price of property.
Income disparity in Hong Kong is a major problem, which is further amplified by the staggering property price challenge.
There’s a significant difference between the sprawling villas of The Peak to the apartments of Mong Kok – the most densely populated neighbourhood in the world.
Average Property Price: USD1,000,000
Year-on-year Price Growth: +11.00%
As the German city and capital of the Bavarian region, Munich has enjoyed a long history of wealth and power.
This city of 1.5 million citizens might perhaps be most famous for its annual Oktoberfest celebrations, but in between the steins of beer, it’s also home to the world’s second-highest average property price.
Munich might seem a strange entrant to our list, but the combination of vibrant economy, growing population, and favourable position nestled between Germany’s heartlands and the beautiful Alps region makes it an attractive European transport hub and wonderful place to live… if you can afford the price!
House prices increased by an eye-watering 11% between 2018-2019, making for the fastest growing prices of any of the top 10.
Average Property Price: USD915,601
Year-on-year Price Growth: +2.50%
What introduction does Singapore need? This vibrant city-state has long had a reputation for high property prices, echoing some of the pressures noted in Hong Kong – prosperous financial centre, limited land, and high population density.
The average property price in Singapore was USD915,601 in 2019, with the average ‘prime’ property prices more than double that at USD2,301,403.
Whether you’re after prime property or a pleasant place to live, Singapore is a pricey place to be. Of course, the other option is to just live in Malaysia guys, we’ve got the best food anyway!
Looking for property in Singapore? Why not check out our complete guide to buying a home there, so that you're aware of what you're stepping into!
Average Property Price: USD905,834
Year-on-year Price Growth: +1.61%
Shanghai is our third Asian entrant on the list, and perhaps no surprise given the remarkable growth the city has witnessed over the last decade or two.
It is now China’s largest city, framed by iconic towers and futuristic skyscrapers. This thriving city benefits from being one of the world’s largest seaports, as well as a major commercial and industrial hub for the world’s second-largest economy.
Another thing that’s taken off are the house prices. With an average property price of USD905,834, Shanghai is not only China’s biggest city, but its most expensive place to live after Hong Kong.
Average Property Price: USD783,855
Year-on-year Price Growth: +3.09%
Shenzhen might be an unexpected entrant to this list for many people, but like Shanghai, this special economic zone has enjoyed rapid growth over recent years.
Some call it the 'Silicon Valley' of China, owing to its vibrant technology and IT industry. Perhaps no surprise then, that these advanced job opportunities are also advancing the house prices.
Shenzhen’s population has grown from under 1 million in 1990, to over 12.6 million today. At the same time, its economy has delivered an average 20.7% GDP growth over the last 40 years. No wonder it costs so much to buy a house!
Average Property Price: USD763,498
Year-on-year Price Growth: +7.45%
Beijing rounds out the three top Chinese entrants to our list, with an average house price of USD763,498.
The Chinese capital has a population of over 20 million, and its economic prospects have expanded in line with the remarkable growth experienced by the nation as a whole over recent decades.
Beijing has a long history as a major urban area, but it has still seen its population double in size since 2001. All those people looking for jobs in China’s vibrant capital have clearly pushed up house prices!
Average Property Price: USD754,617
Year-on-year Price Growth: -3.10%
Canada’s west coast city of Vancouver is the first North American entry on our list, and perhaps surprisingly, beats all the cities of the USA.
It’s also the only entrant on our list where average house prices actually fell between 2018 and 2019. Vancouver is a city which offers a treasure trove of delights.
From access to remarkable natural sites with nearby rainforests and majestic mountains, to its vibrant arts sector, diverse populations, and stunning ocean views.
With a population of just 675,000, it’s the smallest city on our list by population, but it packs a punch when it comes to desirability if those house prices are anything to go by!
8) Los Angeles
Average Property Price: USD717,583
Year-on-year Price Growth: +1.58%
Los Angeles is the iconic home of luxury lifestyles, where the rich and the famous mingle. Here, Hollywood stars enjoy sprawling residences in neighbourhoods such as Bel Air, Silver Lake, and Hollywood itself.
With a population of 4 million, it would be misleading to say that everyone lives the life of extravagant opulence of course, but they’re certainly pushing up those average house prices!
With average property prices of USD717,583, there's plenty to love about L.A. if you can afford a home here, especially if you're a foodie who wants to try hundreds of varieties from a multitude of ethnic traditions.
Average Property Price: USD650,555
Year-on-year Price Growth: +3.60%
Paris conjures up an entirely different aroma of wealth than Los Angeles. This romantic (and romanticised) city is the capital of France, and the quintessential view of luxury European lifestyles.
Movies would have us believe that life in Paris is all about sipping coffee in cafes, wearing stylishly chic fashion, wandering along stunning cobbled streets, and viewing art at the Louvre 24/7.
Of course, with a population of over 2 million, Paris is more than just the stereotype you see on TV. Whatever the truth, the reality on the ground includes extremely high property prices, and second only to Munich for most expensive European city.
10) New York
Average Property Price: USD649,026
Year-on-year Price Growth: +0.70%
"Start spreading the news, we're leaving today. We want to be a part of it, New York, New York!" That is… if we can afford a property when we get there… which, with average prices of USD649,026, will probably be a bit of a stretch.
This iconic East Coast US city is often called ‘the city that never sleeps’, which might be because nobody can afford a place to stay.
New York has always been seen as an expensive property market, and the island of Manhattan certainly does a good job of pushing that vision.
With a population of over 8 million, the difference between house prices in Manhattan and house prices in more affordable neighborhoods like the Bronx are significant. Whatever the differences, average house prices are certainly up there!
BONUS ENTRY: Kuala Lumpur
Average Property Price: RM785,214 (~USD200,000)
It’s worth reflecting on how property in this list of expensive cities compares to Kuala Lumpur! The average house price in Malaysia was RM426,155 in 2019, according to the Malaysian Property House Price Index (MHPI).
The most expensive city is Kuala Lumpur at RM785,214, an approximate global comparison price of USD200,000. That’s significantly lower than the global hotspots highlighted above!
The best thing is, you can use our extensive database to find the perfect property in Kuala Lumpur at a more affordable price for you!
Want to find out more about house prices? Check out the 10 Factors That Impact Property Value You Probably Didn’t Know.