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What $200,000 Buys in World's Most Expensive City

Wednesday, 6 Mar 2013 | 11:10 AM ET
The Tour Odéon site is located on the eastern side of Monaco on the border with France.
Source: Knight Frank
The Tour Odéon site is located on the eastern side of Monaco on the border with France.

Looking to spend $200,000 for a villa in Monaco?

Good luck. For that amount, you'd be lucky to get a one-bath – as in a single four-foot by eight-foot bathroom.

Monaco is the most expensive city in the world when it comes to real estate, according to the Knight Frank's latest Wealth Report. Knight Frank, the London-based real-estate firm, said that the average price of real-estate in Monaco was between $5,350 and $5,920 per square foot in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Prices in the Mediterranean principality have risen two percent over the past year, as the world's wealthy got wealthier and put more of their fortunes into real estate. Monaco's tax-haven status also helps at a time when many countries (the United States, U.K., France, Italy) are raising taxes on the wealthy.

(Read more: Billionaire Population hits 1,453—Or Maybe 4,000)

Ranking second among the world's most expensive real-estate cities was Hong Kong, at $4,570 to $5,050 per square foot. London, Geneva and Paris rounded out the top five. (See the full list below).

Average home price per square foot, 4Q 2012

1 Monaco $5,350-$5,920
2 Hong Kong $4,570-$5,050
3 London $3,890-$4,300
4 Geneva $2,720-$3,010
5 Paris $2,350-$2,600
6 Singapore $2,340-$2,580
7 Moscow $2,040-$2,260
8 New York $2,030-$2,240
9 Sydney $2,020-$2,230
10 Shanghai $1,820-$2,020
Source: Knight Frank

The two cities with the fastest growth in prices were both in Indonesia: Jakarta and Bali, where prices surged 38 percent and 21 percent respectively. Indonesia's rapid growth (GDP growth of 6 percent) and growing numbers of middle class are fueling a surge in real estate.

But Indonesia's rich population is also growing fast. Knight Frank, which authored the study with Wealth-X, the wealth research firm, said the number of people worth $30 million or more will double in Indonesia by 2022.

(Read more: 'Penta-Millionaires' Happier Than Merely Rich)

The favorite city of the super-rich – those worth $30 million or more – is New York, the study says. The study ranked cities by four categories: economic activity, political power, quality of life and knowledge and influence.

"New York's strength is reflected in consistent showing in all four categories," according to the report. "The city is particularly strong in economic activity (being the wealth and financial center for the world's richest economy undoubtedly helps) and knowledge and influence, where the power of the U.S. media firms shines through."

The report said that as the wealthy look to buy real estate for financial security and stability, "Miami, London and new York came to epitomize the so-called safe-haven market, with overseas buyers looking to escape currency, economic, political and security crises."

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  • A reporter and editor, Robert Frank is a leading authority on the American wealthy for CNBC.