London overtakes Geneva to become world’s most expensive city to build in

London’s skyline (Suhardi Ambomai/Dreamstime)
London has once again become the world’s most expensive city to build in, after briefly losing the dubious honour to Geneva last year.

The ranking of the world’s 10 most expensive cities is made each year by Dutch construction engineer Arcadis. The list is more or less the same as last year, with Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Münich, New York, San Francisco and Zürich all retaining their places.

Philadelphia, which entered the running in 2023, has now risen from 10th to seventh. Boston, which also broke into 2023’s top 10, has fallen out.

Geneva dethroned London in 2021, but was then overtaken by the UK capital in 2022.

The top 10 most expensive cities to build are:

  1. London 
  2. Geneva
  3. Zürich
  4. Münich 
  5. New York 
  6. San Francisco 
  7. Philadelphia 
  8. Copenhagen
  9. Hong Kong 
  10. Bristol

The International Construction Costs: Top Cities report finds that London’s output was down more than 10% year-on-year, with the housing sector particularly affected. The blow was offset by stronger performance in other markets, such as commercial and renovation.

The report found the 10 least expensive cities to build in to be:

91. Ho Chi Minh

92. Chengdu

93. Mumbai

94. Delhi

95. Johannesburg

96. Bengaluru

97. Nairobi

98. Kuala Lumpur

99. Lagos

100. Buenos Aires

The full International Construction Costs: Top Cities report is available here.

Edel Christie, Arcadis’ chief growth officer, said: “As conditions stabilise for construction sectors globally, the market for delivery is evolving at a rapid pace. Better use of data, insight and decision-making is critical – whether that’s to meet sustainability requirements, improve stakeholder management, attract more capacity, or better engage with the capabilities of a global supply chain.”

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