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How much does US$1 million buy around the world?

Property Markets / Outlook


Mar 26 2019

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  • US$1 million could buy you 52 sqm of prime residential property in Sydney
  • Currency fluctuations are making prime property in Australia more attractive to foreign buyers


The Wealth Report 2019, launched by Knight Frank, reveals how much US$1 million can buy in prime cities around the world. To establish relative values for prime residential property globally, the study compares how many square metres of luxury internal floor space can be purchased with US$1 million as at 31 December 2018.

Monaco remains the most expensive city in the world, with US$1 million buying 16 sqm of accommodation – the equivalent of a bedroom in a luxury home. Hong Kong came in second, with US$1 million buying 22 sqm, while New York and London tied third at 31 sqm for US$1 million. According to the Wealth Report, U$1 million will buy you 52 square metres in Sydney and 97 square metres in Melbourne.

Currency fluctuations over the past year have made Australian prime property more attractive to foreign buyers, according to Knight Frank’s Head of Residential Research Australia, Michelle Ciesielski.

“Over the course of 2018 Sydney prime properties rose 3.1%, but with a stronger US dollar, overall, the impact of the currency shift saw prices decline 7% for someone buying a Sydney prime residential property with US dollars.

“Looking at the impact of currency fluctuations on prime residential prices across the major Australian cities over 2018, the end of the year saw a price discount of 7 to 8% for those purchasing with the US dollar, 9 to 10% for those purchasing with Japanese Yen, whilst those purchasing with Renminbi currency saw a reduction of 2 to 3% over the same time.

“When currency is factored into the sale price, we can often see a significant variance in the sale price for those purchasing residential property in Australia. When the US dollar appreciates rapidly against the Australian dollar we have increased enquiries from high-net-worth expat clients taking advantage of how much more luxury residential property can be purchased,” said Ms Ciesielski.

According to Knight Frank’s Partner and Head of Prestige Residential Australia, Deborah Cullen, The Wealth Report found at the end of 2018, US$1 million could buy you 52 sqm of prime floor space in Sydney, 4 sqm more floor space than we recorded at the end of last year.

“Ten years ago marked the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the Global Financial Crisis and at this time you could buy 86 sqm of prime residential property in Sydney with your US$1 million 34 sqm more than what you could at the end of 2018 – the equivalent to a prestige-sized kitchen.

“In 2008 US$1 million could buy you 155 sqm of space in Melbourne; this has tightened to be 97 sqm as at December 2018, although is more than the 90 sqm at the end of 2017.

“Continuing along the eastern seaboard, with US$1 million you could buy 123 sqm in Brisbane, down from 160 sqm in 2008. While on the Gold Coast US$1 million would get you 136 sqm at the end of 2018, compared to 173 sqm in 2008.

“Perth, on the other hand, has seen an increase in the amount of space US$1 million can buy from 109 sqm in 2008 to 116 sqm as at December 2018. While this only represents 7 additional sqm of space, it presents an opportunity for buyers in the luxury residential space given at the height of the decade-long resources boom in June 2011 only 71 sqm could be purchased with US$1 million,” said Ms Cullen.

Download the full Wealth Report HERE



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