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Living in one of the world’s financial hubs means getting access to top-notch cultural attractions and entertainment, a varied job market, and expensive lifestyles—naturally! This is what sets apart financial core cities like NYC from large cities like Atlanta, Las Vegas, or Miami. But how expensive really? This is what we here at RENTCafe set out to uncover when we compiled this study on what it costs to rent in the world’s top financial cities and how these urban hubs compare to each other when it comes to monthly rental costs. And we’re ready to let you in on our findings!
But first, what do the top 30 global financial powerhouses look like? Luckily, The Z/Yen Group regularly evaluates the world’s largest cities by factors like competitiveness and transaction volume, so it’s enough to check out the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), which they publish twice a year. Based on the latest edition, these are the top 30 financial centers of the world:
So now that we have a shortlist of the most powerful cities from this point of view, all that remains is to check out their rents. For this, RENTCafe analysts summed up the average rents for one-bedroom apartments between 600 and 999 square feet (55-85 square meters) in each of these 30 cities, based on housing market data from various sources. These include Yardi Matrix in the case of US cities, Point2Homes for Canada and Global Property Guide for most international markets (See the methodology for the exceptions and other details).
You can’t really go wrong with any of these, as all 30 of them offer a highly competitive environment with plenty of jobs in the financial sector. But while they are similar in this regard, their rents differ wildly. However, this is good news because it means there are a few cities that despite being among the top-performing financial centers of the world, ask relatively small rents.
The size of the tiles representing the world’s top financial centers in the interactive infographic below are proportional to their rent prices. Tap or hover your mouse over the tiles to see the average rents in US Dollars:
Take London for example, the worldwide leader according to the GFCI, which slips back to the 20th place when we sort these cities by their rents. Or put it this way: There are 19 other financial centers with higher rents than London—some would say that’s a great combination… Two Canadian markets also got much closer to the end of the list when ranked by their rents (Montreal and Toronto dropped 14 and 13 positions, respectively), but this also means they are some pretty well-performing financial markets with cheap rents! Out of the US markets only Chicago and Washington, DC find themselves in this position, moving back 9 and 3 places, respectively—another piece of good news for those attracted by their financial sectors.
New York City on the other hand is by far the most expensive on the list—although its proud second place on the GFCI and the possibility to live next to Wall St. may justify a $3,680 rent to a certain degree.
London’s long-time rival, Paris is among the cities that went the farthest from their original positions on the list, when sorted by average rents—but in the other direction than London. While Paris, Geneva and Los Angeles were all closer to the end of the initial list, their rents for one-bedroom apartments landed them much closer to the top when ranked by housing prices. The sky-high rents in Boston and San Francisco also pushed them 4 positions in this unwanted direction.
The following interactive table allows you to sort the cities by numerous factors. Hint: expand the table to see all entries and use the search box to filter the results.
|Financial Centre||Country||Continent||Average Rent for 1-Bedroom||Financial Rank|
|New York City||United States||North America||$3,680||2|
|San Francisco||United States||North America||$3,360||6|
|Boston||United States||North America||$2,930||7|
|Hong Kong||Hong Kong||Asia||$2,740||4|
|Singapore||Republic of Singapore||Asia||$2,050||3|
|Dubai||United Arab Emirates||Asia||$2,040||18|
|Los Angeles||United States||North America||$2,030||25|
|Seoul||Republic of Korea||Asia||$1,990||14|
|Washington D.C.||United States||North America||$1,940||10|
|Chicago||United States||North America||$1,720||8|
|Cayman Islands||Cayman Islands||North America||$1,680||28|
|Taipei||China - Taiwan||Asia||$910||21|
- For the initial list of the world’s top financial cities we used Z/Yen Group’s ranking, as published in the latest issue of the Global Financial Centres Index.
- The rent prices represent the average rents or their US Dollar-equivalents for one-bedroom apartments between 600 and 999 square feet, or 55 and 85 square meters
- For the US cities analyzed in this report, our analysts used average rent data provided by RENTCafe’s sister company Yardi Matrix, an apartment market intelligence source which researches and reports on all multifamily properties containing 50 or more units across 124 markets in the United States, apart from the ones that are part of a regulated affordable housing program or benefit from any government subsidies.
- Our source for rent data on the Canadian markets was Point2Homes, another RENTCafe sister company, that offers a listing service with homes for sale and for rent in Canada, along with comprehensive property reports and neighborhood information.
- For most of the international markets we used average rent data provided by Global Property Guide, with the exception of London (GOV.UK), Tokyo and Osaka (Utinokati), Hong Kong (HK Rating and Valuation Department) and Dubai (Bayut).
Fair use and redistribution
We encourage you and freely grant you permission to reuse, host, or repost the images in this article. When doing so, we only ask that you kindly attribute the authors by linking to RENTCafe.com or this page, so that your readers can learn more about this project, the research behind it and its methodology.