What $1 million buys in real estate around the world

  • Monaco reigns as the most expensive market in the world, according to a report from real estate brokerage Knight Frank.
  • Hong Kong and New York took second and third, respectively.
  • If you're looking for a bargain in luxury real estate, check out Sao Paulo or Cape Town, South Africa.
The Principality of Monaco.
John Harper | Getty Images
The Principality of Monaco.

A million dollars doesn't buy what it used to — especially when it comes to luxury real estate.

The Wealth Report, from London-based real estate brokerage Knight Frank, measured the top markets in the world and compared how much prime property $1 million would buy in each.

Monaco still reigns as the most expensive for top-tier property. For $1 million, you can only buy 16 square meters there, about 172 square feet — the size of a respectable walk-in closet.

Hong Kong ranked as the second most expensive market, with $1 million buying about 236 square feet. New York ranked third, nabbing about 270 square feet.

The report highlights how global growth has lifted the fortunes of the wealthy and hiked luxury real estate prices in the top cities. "2017 was a year when the economic stars aligned and relatively healthy growth was seen across most markets," the report said.

Indeed, almost all of the cities have become more expensive over the past year. In Monaco and New York, $1 million buys 1 less square meter than it did a year ago. In London, which ranked fourth, $1 million buys 28 square meters, 2 meters less than a year ago.

Los Angeles saw even stronger prices, with $1 million buying about 620 square feet, compared with about 657 square feet a year ago.

If you're looking for a bargain in luxury real estate, check out Sao Paulo or Cape Town, South Africa. In Cape Town, $1 million buys about 1,700 square feet. In Sao Paulo, $1 million lands more than 1,800 square feet. But even Sao Paolo has become more expensive: Last year $1 million could have purchased 1,900 square feet.