The global market for office rentals grew three per cent in 2011, up from just one per cent the year before, according to property consulting firm Cushman & Wakefield.
Driven by increased demand and strong gains in emerging economies, the rate for office rentals increased substantially in several cities across the globe.
Asian cities saw particularly strong growth, most notably in China where a housing and construction bubble continues to be one of the main economic drivers.
Let’s see which cities have the most expensive office space in the world.
Occupancy cost per square foot per year: $98
Rental growth/decline: -3 per cent
World ranking: 10
Zurich is a leading global city and among the world’s largest financial centres. The city is home to a large number of financial institutions and banking giants.
Also, most of the research and development centres are concentrated in Zurich and the low rate of tax attracts overseas companies to set up their headquarters there.
Occupancy cost per square foot per year: $106
Rental growth/decline: 5 per cent
World ranking: 9
Paris and the Paris Region produce more than a quarter of the gross domestic product of France. The Paris Region hosts the headquarters of 33 of the Fortune Global 500 companies, the highest such concentration in Europe, hosted in several business districts, notably La Defense, the largest dedicated business district in Europe.
The Paris region has the highest concentration of higher education students in the European Union, is the first in Europe in terms of research and development capability and expenditure and is considered one of the best cities in the world for innovation.
With about 42 million tourists annually in the city and its suburbs, Paris is the most visited city in the world.
Rio De Janeiro
Occupancy cost per square foot per year: $109
Rental growth/decline: -8 per cent
World ranking: 8
Rio de Janeiro represents the second largest GDP in the country and is the headquarters of two major Brazilian companies – Petrobras and Vale – and the largest conglomerate of media and communications companies in Latin America, the Globo Organizations.
An aerial view of the famous Christ the Redeemer atop of Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro.
Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and is known for its natural settings, carnival celebrations, samba, Bossa Nova, balneario beaches, such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon.
Revellers from the Salgueiro samba school take part in the Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro.
Occupancy cost per square foot per year: $119
Rental growth/decline: 6 per cent
World ranking: 7
Sydney ranks among the top 10 world centres. In 2010, Sydney was ranked 7th in Asia and 28th globally for economic innovation in the Innovation Cities Top 100 Index by innovation agency 2thinknow.
Sydney also ranks among the top 10 most liveable cities in the world according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting, The Economist and Monocle and is considered among the top fashion capitals in the world.
It was also ranked in the top 10 Global University Cities according to RMIT University.
It has hosted major international sporting events, including the 1938 British Empire Games and the 2000 Summer Olympics.
The main airport serving Sydney is Sydney Airport and the main port in the city is Sydney Harbour.
Surfer heads down the steep face of a wave at Sydney’s Dee Why Beach.
New York City
Occupancy cost per square foot per year: $120
Rental growth/decline: 4 per cent
World ranking: 6
New York City’s financial district, anchored by Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, functions as the financial capital of the world and is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the world’s largest stock exchange by total market capitalisation of its listed companies.
A boat sails in the Hudson River in front of the Empire State Building and the skyline of midtown Manhattan in New York.
Manhattan’s real estate market is among the most expensive in the world. Providing continuous 24/7 service, the New York City Subway is one of the most extensive rapid transit systems in the world.
Numerous colleges and universities are located in New York, including Columbia University, New York University, and Rockefeller University, which are ranked among the top 50 in the world.
Occupancy cost per square foot per year: $130
Rental growth/decline: 75 per cent
World ranking: 5
Beijing is China’s second-largest city by urban population after Shanghai and is the country’s political, cultural, and educational centre, and home to the headquarters for most of China’s largest state-owned companies.
Beijing is a major transportation hub in the national highway, expressway, railway and high-speed rail network. Beijing’s Capital International Airport is the second-busiest in the world by passenger traffic.
Occupancy cost per square foot per year: $148
Rental growth/decline: 41 per cent
World ranking: 4
The city is served by an extensive transit network, which includes four international airports, nine railroad terminals, and one of the deepest underground tubes in the world, the Moscow Metro, second only to Tokyo in terms of ridership and recognised as one of the city’s landmarks due to the rich and varied architecture of its 185 stations.
A view of Moscow’s Kremlin, Ministry of Foreign affairs and Moscow City business district.
Moscow is the undisputed financial centre of Russia and home to the country’s largest banks and many of its largest companies, such as Russia’s largest company Gazprom.
Moscow accounts for 17 per cent of retail sales in Russia and for 13 per cent of all construction activity.
Occupancy cost per square foot per year: $197
Rental growth/decline: 7 per cent
World ranking: 3
Tokyo has been described as one of the three “command centres” for the world economy, along with New York City and London.
This city is considered an alpha+ world city, listed by the GaWC’s 2008 inventory and ranked third among global cities by Foreign Policy’s 2010 Global Cities Index.
In 2010 Tokyo was named the second most expensive city for expatriate employees, according to the Mercer and Economist Intelligence Unit cost-of-living surveys, and in 2009 named the third Most Liveable City and the World’s Most Livable Megalopolis by the magazine Monocle.
Occupancy cost per square foot per year: $239
Rental growth/decline: 8 per cent
World ranking: 2
London is a leading global city, with strengths in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism and transport all contributing to its prominence.
It is the world’s leading financial centre alongside New York City and has the fifth-largest city GDP in the world (and the largest in Europe).
Pedestrians cross the Millenium Bridge spanning the Thames River in London.
London has been described as a world cultural capital. It has the third most international visitors in the world and London Heathrow is the world’s busiest airport by number of international passengers.
London’s 43 universities form the largest concentration of higher education in Europe. In 2012 London will become the first city to host the modern Summer Olympic Games three times.
Two actors in costume walk through a reception area in Kensington Palace in London.
Occupancy cost per square foot per year: $244
Rental growth/decline: 1 per cent
World ranking: 1
As one of the world’s leading international financial centres, Hong Kong has a major capitalist service economy characterised by low taxation and free trade, and the currency, Hong Kong dollar, is the eighth most traded currency in the world.
The lack of space caused demand for denser constructions, which developed the city to a centre for modern architecture and the world’s most vertical city.
Hong Kong has one of the highest per capita income in the world. The dense space also led to a highly developed transportation network with public transport travelling rate exceeding 90 per cent, the highest in the world.
Micky Mouse and Minnie Mouse perform during ‘Disney On Parade’ at Hong Kong Disneyland.