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Home ownership - once one of life's rites of passage – is becoming more and more unattainable, as price rises push many out of the market.

In the first quarter of this year, global house prices rose by 0.6 percent, according to Knight Frank's Global House Price Index. This was down from 1.2 percent over the previous quarter, but still marked the eighth consecutive quarterly increase – and the real estate firm expects the index to strengthen in the second quarter.

When it comes to purchasing a place to call one's own, a budget of half a million U.S. dollars might sound attractive - but how much does it actually buy? CNBC goes around the world to find out what this amount will get you in some of the world's hottest cities.

By CNBC's Alice Tidey.

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