Surprisingly, not New York. In fact, compared with select cities in Europe and Asia, Manhattan’s downright cheap.
According to a chart by Credit Sesame, the average cost per square foot in Manhattan is $1,068. That’s about $500 less than the average in Singapore ($1,561) and $1,000 less than the average in Oslo ($2,099). None of which compares with the eye-bulging price tag of real estate in Paris. A measly square foot in the City of Light checks in at $3,287: enough to buy a house in Detroit, with a couple large leftover.
The point that Credit Sesame, a money management company, wants to make is that, for all the talk about housing inflation in the United States, the global market offers some humbling perspective. Yes, New York is expensive by American standards. In Houston, the cheapest of the American cities surveyed here, you can buy a place for just $54 a square foot. But it isn’t particularly outlandish compared with other major urban centers like London ($1,590), Hong Kong ($1,118), and Beirut ($1448). Real estate in Al-Kūt, Iraq–a city southeast of Baghdad that’s arguably not the world’s most desirable place to live–costs three times that of property in Phoenix (to be fair, also not the world’s most desirable place to live).
A word on the methodology: Meticulous science, this is not. Credit Sesame gathered data covering three years and 14 sources, ranging from Factiva and Trulia to the New York Times and the Iraq Daily Times. Real estate prices, of course, fluctuate year to year and probably weren’t calculated the same way across all 14 sources, so what you have here is an imperfect comparison. Still, the lesson abides: Be glad you don’t live in Paris.