The most and least expensive market to build

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San Francisco holds the lead this year as the most expensive city to build

This year San Francisco removes New York from the top spot, having increased by 5.0 percent in the last year, according to a new report by consulting company Turner & Townsend.

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The study examined the average building costs in six different types of construction: apartment highrises, prestige office blocks, large warehouse distribution centers, general hospitals, primary and secondary schools and shopping centers and malls.

The five highest cost cities remain San Francisco, New York, London, Zurich and Hong Kong. Singapore has construction costs closest to the average, while the closest to the median cost is Auckland. Low construction costs in Chinese and Indian cities are not much of a surprise, having been in this position in previous surveys. However, Istanbul continues to surprise by having such low construction costs. The Turkish Lira has fallen from close to USD0.50 to USD0.19 since 2015, which helps explain the dramatically low construction costs when converted back to US dollars.

The overall spread of average construction costs is remarkable and increasing. Bangalore costs are just 13 percent of those in San Francisco. The bottom ten markets have average construction costs of just 22 percent of the top ten markets. In other words, you could build five similar structures in the bottom ten markets for the same cost as one in the top ten markets.

In 2018, the average construction cost of the bottom ten markets was 25 percent of the average of the top ten markets. At this time, the lowest cost markets could build four similar structures for the same cost as the average top ten markets.