Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Most Expensive Places to Rent an Apartment

Did you know Toronto is one of the most expensive places to rent an apartment? In Toronto the average price of a two-bedroom apartment is $1,259 (as of May 2012).

Seriously, its up there.

True, its no Tokyo or Hong Kong, but its still pretty pricey. Lets run down the list for a second...

Note: The following list is a composite list which also takes into account other factors like "cost of living" and the price per square foot. Figures are from the ECA consulting group. (All prices are in USD.)

$4,352 per month for a two bedroom apartment, average.
The capital city of Japan has a notoriously high cost of living. Its one of the reasons I went to South Korea instead when I was teaching English overseas. Tokyo has been on the list of most expensive cities for a variety of topics (not just apartment rentals) for many years. Its the result of super high demand in central Tokyo. Its cheaper in satellite cities further from the center.

$3,500 per month for a two bedroom apartment, average.
You might not think Russia's largest city should be in the second spot on the list of most expensive cities to rent. Its because this Soviet city is also known for being home to a large number of billionaires and it jacks up the average dramatically, but don't expect to find anything much cheaper. The prices are high for other reasons too, but mostly its the billionaires (and possibly their mistresses).

Hong Kong
$2,830 per month for a two bedroom apartment, average.
China's economic growth has been red hot in recent decades and Hong Kong has become a world mecca for trade and commerce. That means lots of rich visitors looking for places to sleep and they don't want to stay in a hotel (which is even more expensive if you're there for multiple months on a contract).

$2,824 per month for a two bedroom apartment, average.
Old London town means you'd better have more than two pence to rub together. Like Hong Kong jolly old London is still a top location for business and commerce in Europe, and its a mecca for many rich expatriates who visit the United Kingdom regularly. Space in London is at a premium and the prices keep going up.

$2,810 per month for a two bedroom apartment, average.
Singapore is a popular tourist and business destination and housing prices definitely reflect the influx of tourists, business people, workers and strong economic growth.

Abu Dhabi
$2,500 per month for a two bedroom apartment, average.
The United Arab Emirates is synonymous with wealth nowadays. Not so much for vacations although that is growing. Its the business of oil that has caused this place to have soaring rental prices in the past decade. Abu Dhabi beats Dubai when it comes to the cost of apartment rentals. Both cities have seen a small decline in rental prices over recent years, but this garden city of the gulf is expected to continue to see growth (and periods of decline) depending on the fluctuation of oil prices.

$2,390 per month for a two bedroom apartment, average.
Paris used to be one of the most expensive cities for rentals, mostly due to artists, romantics, tourists and so forth... but apparently romance is on the decline. The average price is 1,650 Euros, which fluctuates a bit.

San Francisco
$2,100 per month for a two bedroom apartment, average.
Lets ignore that San Francisco is the future fictional home of Star Fleet Academy and Earth's government... that is after all, just fiction. However when you consider San Francisco's proximity to the Silicon Valley and it being home to many of the top technology companies in the world I guess you really can't be surprised by its high cost of living and rentals.

New York City
$1,359 per month for a two bedroom apartment, average.
Frank Sinatra's favourite city to sing about is a financial mecca, but its also crime ridden and has its share of poverty. A New York City apartment isn't even in the top 10. Its #17 down the list. Suffolk-Nassau on Long Island is more expensive at $1,592 per month. While the rentals in NYC are more expensive than the rest of the USA (ignoring San Francisco) its comparatively cheap when contrasted with Tokyo. Within NYC Tribeca and Soho are two of the most expensive, and Harlem is one of the cheapest. Many apartments in Manhattan are rent-controlled as a method of keeping them more affordable so maybe this explains why NYC is so low on the list.

(Ignoring Cost of Living)

Europe: Netherlands, Amsterdam; Finland, Helsinki; Ukraine, Kiev; Italy, Rome; Switzerland, Geneva; Monaco.

Caribbean: Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman; Barbados, St James; British Virgin Islands, Tortola; Bahamas; Bermuda.


  1. Your notion of a 2-bedroom apartment in New York is way, way off base. A studio apartment is a grand, a 1-bedroom $2000 if you can find one, and 2-bedroom is $3000-plus.

  2. Bill P:

    According to the ECA the average is $1,359 per month. You are fully in your right to disagree with them about prices, but you apparently are forgetting that many apartments in NYC are in poorer neighbourhoods and/or have rent control.


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