Miami home prices may seem astronomical to locals, but they’re a bargain to foreigners

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How many square feet of luxury of luxury property does $1 million get you around the world?

Comparison of the most expensive cities for real estate.

Comparison of the most expensive cities for real estate.

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Miami has long attracted North Americans escaping the cruelty of winter. But in the past decade, it has also become a playground for art aficionados, foodies and boaters from around the globe — in part because of its relative value.

While the going rate of $875 per square foot in Miami Beach may seem astronomical to a local resident earning the annual household median income of $50,000, it’s a bargain when compared with Monte Carlo’s $4,634 square-foot price. For those considering a pied-a-terre far from the winter gloom of London, where central city real estate is selling for $2,515 per square foot, Miami is a deal even without factoring in the weather.

That analysis comes from EWM Realty. Said its president, Ron Shuffield: “Potential buyers from other global cities who are currently considering the purchase of a primary or secondary residence in Miami see us as a great value in comparison with residential prices within their home cities. While the diversity of our hometown was a challenge 40 years ago, the wonderful international blend of our community today has become one of our greatest strengths.”

Douglas Elliman-Knight Frank Residential agrees. “Miami offers relatively good value on a global scale compared with London, New York or Hong Kong,” said Liam Bailey, global head of residential research at Elliman partner Knight Frank LLP, in an interview. “It’s priced at about 50 percent of where the top tier in those other cities are.”

Even for renters, Miami stacks up well.

The median Magic City household pays 37 percent of its income toward rent in international comparisons, according to U.S. Census data. Parisians pay 46 percent, Londoners pay 40 percent, and Singaporeans pay 44 percent, according to data compiled by Rent Cafe, a real estate website.

And if you exclude housing, Miami rates even more favorably. In its 2018 international cost comparison of cities, UBS ranked Miami third best on purchasing power, behind Los Angeles and Zurich, Switzerland.

UBS ranked Miami 23rd best on a comparison of local prices compared to benchmark New York. UBS found that the cost of living in Miami is 25 percent less than the cost of living in Manhattan — better than Tokyo, Tel Aviv, and just a bit ahead of Toronto, which ranked 31st.

When it comes to the world’s most expensive cities, Miami falls at 71, according to the 2019 Worldwide Cost of Living Report by The Economist Intelligence Unit. Tied for first place were Singapore, Paris and Hong Kong; followed by Zurich and Geneva, Switzerland; Osaka, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; Copenhagen, Denmark; New York, Tel Aviv, and Los Angeles.

Most expensive cities, 2019



Paris France 1
Hong Kong China 1
Zurich Switzerland 4
Geneva Switzerland 5
Osaka Japan 5
Seoul South Korea 7
Copenhagen Denmark 7
New York USA 7
Tel Aviv Israel 10
Los Angeles USA 10
Miami USA 71

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit

What $1 million will buy

Monaco: 172 square feet

Hong Kong: 237 square feet

New York: 334 square feet

London: 334 square feet

Singapore: 388 square feet

Los Angeles: 420 square feet

Geneva: 441 square feet

Paris: 495 square feet

Sydney: 560 square feet

Shanghai: 614 square feet

Beijing: 721 square feet

Tokyo: 721 square feet

Berlin: 786 square feet

Miami: 1,001 square feet

Melbourne: 1,044 square feet

Mumbai: 1,076 square feet

Istanbul: 1,173 square feet

Dubai: 1,539 square feet

Cape Town: 1,905 square feet

São Paolo: 2,153 square feet

Knight Frank 2019 report

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