How Much Real Estate Can You Buy for $1 Million?

How Much Real Estate Can You Buy for $1 Million?

Property prices around the world have been on the move, but how much Real Estate Can You Buy for 1 Million dollar?

Real estate has often been the asset of choice for wealthy individuals around the world, favoured for its scarcity and security. According to Andrew Carnegie, billionaire industrialist ‘Ninety percent of all millionaires became so through owning real estate. More money has been made in real estate than in all industrial investments combined.

Real Estate is the go-to asset in times of uncertainty

With the threat of higher taxes, higher interest rates, higher inflation investors and the economic shock created by the Coronavirus pandemic, investors have increasingly returned to real estate as a store of wealth. The real estate asset of choice for the world’s wealthy is prime residential assets in global cities around the world.

Successful investors understand that working from home and the short-term impact of economic lockdowns is unlikely to be a long-term trend. The scarcity of prime development sites in global cities around the world and the long-term trend of urbanisation will not be easily derailed. Wealthy investors are increasingly looking to snap up blue-chip real estate assets in prime central locations. Accordingly, competition for prime residential cities around the world is now fierce.

What do you get for USD 1 Million Dollars?

The table below sets out just how far US$1 million will go and how many square feet of prime residential space you can purchase.

CountryCitySq Ft of Prime Residential Space for USD 1 m
Hong KongHong Kong229
United StatesNew York358
United StatesLos Angles454
United StatesMiami833
South AfricaCape Town2,363
BrazilSao Paulo2,759
Source: Knight Frank

The big winners

Monaco, Hong Kong and London come out top when the world’s wealthy put their money where their mouth is.


Monaco tops the list as the world’s most expensive city when it comes to prime residential property. The city-state is one of the most land-constrained states, at just 0.78 square miles the entire state is not much bigger than London’s Hyde Park (0.54 square miles). Shortage of land supply has had a major impact on the residential assets, with USD 1 million getting would-be investors just 157 square feet of space – to put this in context a typical car parking space is 200 square feet.

Monaco - Real Estate Can You Buy For 1 Million dollar

Hong Kong

Hong Kong comes in second place, the city-state’s real land market is often cited for its fierce competition between developers for prime development sites which are managed in government auctions. Roughly 7% of the state’s land is zoned for residential, relative to New York’s 75%, the result is predictable. Rapid price growth has pushed the young and the elderly into new ‘micro apartments’ which are less than 100 square feet.


Boasting the tag line of the home to the world’s largest financial market as well as theatres, restaurants, world-leading education institutions, and long established legal system, London real estate has long been a favoured location for the store of wealth for the world’s financial elite.


What is Prime Real Estate?

The research prepared by Knight Frank defines prime real estate as “the most desirable and expensive property in the area, generally defined as the top 5% of the market by value.”