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Money: A King-Size Bed or a Couch?

A report earlier this year in Britain’s Financial Times reveals how much space a measly million gets you in major cities around the globe. The answer: Not a lot.

May 23, 2017 | By Bruce R. Feldman

Remember the days when US$1 million was real money?

It will still buy you a three-bedroom house or better-than-average flat in a prime part of Atlanta, Edinburgh, or even along the Riviera in Nice. But if you want to live in a desirable neighborhood in one of the world’s financial or cultural centers, you’re out of luck.

Hong Kong, New York, and London are second, third, and fourth on the list of most expensive residential real estate markets.

In practical terms, that means you’ll get only about 215 sq. ft. of living space in Hong Kong, 280 sq. ft. in New York, or 322 sq. ft. in London. That’s a tiny studio apartment, no matter how you cut it.

You can have either a king-size bed or a couch, but maybe not both – unless you don’t mind walking on the furniture to get to bathroom. Once there, don’t expect to be able to turn around with ease.

You could do somewhat better if you don’t insist on living on the Upper East Side or Belgravia.

Monaco is home to the costliest real estate on the planet. If you could find a US$1 million flat (you can’t!) you’d have to call a 12 ft. x 15 ft. room in a less than prime building home.

You’ll get a bigger bang for your buck if you’re willing to live in a good section of Paris, which isn’t what anyone would call a hardship, is it? That US$1 million might get you only a small one-bedroom apartment, but, hey, you’re in Paris!

The FT report, based on a study by the global real estate giant Knight Frank, notes that the Brexit vote is starting to send high-earning Parisians living in London back to the French capital. Sales are up there, if not prices.

Values are to be had for those who are flexible about where they reside. Home prices in Dubai and Sao Paulo are reasonable by comparison. It’s possible to snag a large two- or three-bedroom flat in either city for about US$1 million.

Monte Carlo: World's most expensive residential real estate

Of course, no matter where you prefer to live, you still must have at least US$1 million at your disposal. Not many do.

Only about 13 million of the globe’s 7.4 billion inhabitants have even a net worth of US$1 million. And that doesn’t mean all of them can afford to spend seven figures on housing. If you can, consider yourself lucky.

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