Of the 44 global cities reviewed for building project expenses by worldwide consultancy firm Arcadis, 30 are country capitals.
The 2017 International Construction Costs report from Arcadis presents well-engineered comparisons of construction costs for 44 of the world’s major cities.
The annual Arcadis study focuses on key building factors such as product quality, supply chain and cost differentials for each city. The report also identifies the world’s 10 highest value construction projects including city location.
Highlighted below are the ten most and least costly national capital cities for relative building costs.
Top 10 Most Expensive Capital Cities for Construction
The following 10 nation capitals are among the 19 costliest cities for building projects, according to the Arcadis report. In addition to their relative placement versus other capitals, shown within brackets is the actual ranking for each capital when all 44 major cities are compared.
- Hong Kong (2nd place)
- Central London, United Kingdom (4th place)
- Copenhagen, Denmark (6th place)
- Stockholm, Sweden (7th place)
- Paris, France (9th place)
- Vienna, Austria (10th place)
- Doha, Qatar (11th place)
- Brussels, Belgium (12th place)
- Singapore (15th place)
- Tokyo, Japan (17th place)
Honorable mention goes to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Seoul in South Korea, Kiev in Ukraine and Madrid in Spain, capital cities that finished 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd respectively.
New York is the only North American city included in the international study. Although not a capital, New York is pinpointed as the most expensive city in the world for construction costs in 2017.
Top 10 Least Expensive Capital Cities for Construction
Five of the least costly capitals for building projects are in Asia, while the remaining five are European capital cities.
They are presented below in descending order, reflecting the fact that a higher overall place number within brackets corresponds with lower relative construction costs.
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (43rd place)
- Jakarta, Indonesia (42nd place)
- Taipei, Taiwan (40th place)
- Bangkok, Thailand (39th place)
- Manila, Philippines (38th place)
- Bucharest, Romania (37th place)
- Prague, Czech Republic (36th place)
- Sarajevo, Bosnia/Herzegovina (34th place)
- Sofia, Bulgaria (33rd place)
- Athens, Greece (32nd place)
Honorable mention goes to Belgrade, Warsaw and Lisbon–capital cities that finished 30th, 29th and 28th on the highest costs scale.
Currency trends is a major consideration driving relative construction costs benchmarked against the US dollar. Section 3.2 in the Arcadis report shows graphically that the US dollar declined by -5% versus the Malaysian ringgit and down -10% compared to the Indonesian rupiah.
In 2016 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Jakarta, Indonesia rank as the two lowest-cost capital cities for construction projects partly because their national currencies enjoyed increased purchasing strength relative to US dollars from October 2015 to October 2016.
Arcadis, International Construction Costs 2017: Cost Certainty in an Uncertain World. Accessed on August 10, 2017
Central Intelligence Agency, Field Listing: Exchange Rates. Accessed on August 10, 2017
Wikipedia, Construction bidding. Accessed on August 10, 2017