London once again the world’s most expensive city to build in

London is back at the top of the ranking of the most expensive construction locations in the world.

The UK capital is followed by Geneva (2nd), Zurich (3rd) and Munich (4th), according to the Arcadis International Construction Costs 2024 report.

Double-digit price growth in Munich has propelled the Bavarian capital significantly up the rankings. It has overtaken US cities including New York (5th) and San Francisco (6th) in terms of relative cost to build. 

UK and Ireland’s cities ranking
10 most expensive cities
10 least expensive cities
London (1/100)
1. London
100. Buenos Aires
Bristol (10/100)
2. Geneva
99. Lagos
Manchester (12/100)
3. Zurich
98. Kuala Lumpur
Birmingham (14/100)
4. Munich
97. Nairobi
Edinburgh (15/100)
5. New York
96. Bengaluru
Cardiff (16/100)
6. San Francisco
95. Johannesburg
Glasgow (18/100)
7. Philadelphia
94. Delhi
Dublin (19/100)
8. Copenhagen
93. Mumbai
Belfast (28/100)
9. Hong Kong
92. Chengdu
10. Bristol
91. Ho Chi Minh

UK and Ireland

The report found that cities in the UK and Ireland are relatively expensive places to build – all those included in the study are in the top 25 most expensive construction locations globally, except Belfast, which ranked 28th.

Although inflation levels were moderate in the UK, specification enhancements related to building safety, sustainability and client expectations pushed prices up further than most other locations. 

Viability challenges have continued to affect projects, even as inflation has fallen. New regulations focused on low-carbon emissions and improved building safety also created uncertainty and added to project costs. 

Arcadis noted that uncertainty could continue in 2024 due to the upcoming local, mayoral and general elections.   

The study covers 100 of the world’s large cities across six continents. The cost comparison was developed to include 20 different building types, including residential, commercial and public sector developments.

It is based on a survey of construction costs, a review of market conditions and analysis by Arcadis’ global team of experts. The calculations are in US dollars and indexed against the price range for each building type relative to Amsterdam.

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