These are the 10 most expensive places in the world to open an office

The global race to secure desirable work environments hits new heights in Asia


Asian cities cornered CBRE’s latest Global Prime Office Occupancy Costs survey, with two locations in Hong Kong ranking among the most expensive in the world for premium workspaces.

The average cost of occupying a prime office spot in the Chinese SAR’s Central district stood at USD322 per square foot per annum as of the first quarter of 2019, the highest in the world.

Central outranks the second most expensive location on the list, London’s West End, which had an annual occupancy cost of USD222.70 per square foot.

Hong Kong’s Kowloon district is the world’s third most expensive for occupying an office, which would cost around USD208.67 per square foot a year. The UK reappears at number 10 with USD139.75 a square foot in the City of London, trailing New Delhi’s Connaught Place where yearly occupancy costs could top USD143.97, the ninth priciest in the world.

Beijing also appears twice in the top 10, with prime office spots in the mainland Chinese capital’s Finance Street and CBD asking USD187.77 and USD177.05 per square foot per annum, respectively.

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At USD169.86 per square foot an annum, a prime office in New York’s Midtown-South Manhattan neighbourhoods is pricier on average than the eighth most expensive location in the world: Tokyo’s Marunouchi/Otemachi area with USD167.82 per square foot an annum.

Midtown Manhattan has the fourth costliest prime office location in the world at USD196.89 per square foot an annum.

“The race to attract talent by securing the most desirable work environments remains intense,” stated CBRE in the report. “Combined with limited supply and moderate construction pipelines in most cities, prime office occupancy costs have risen to new heights.”

Prime office occupancy costs increased by 3.6 percent globally in the year to Q1 2019, exceeding CBRE’s projection of two percent and the 2.4 percent clip registered a year ago. Office markets in Asia-Pacific climbed 3.3 percent, while EMEA posted an uptick of 3.5 percent. The Americas increased to 3.7 percent.