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30 International Homes for $250,000 – See How Yours Stacks Up

Movoto maneuvered the global real estate market to find out what $250,000 would buy in 30 international cities. Calculate how much your home would cost!

Kristin Crosier

Writer

44 articles, 3 comments

Click here to see how the cities stack up with Movoto’s interactive sorting tool!



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The Movoto Real Estate bloggers have traveled with you across the nation–we’ve introduced you to the humble abode of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie in New York City, and we pinpointed the locale of Wayne Manor in Chicago. But we have yet to cover the endless number of amazing cities around the world.

Who hasn’t read about, traveled to, or considered moving across the ocean to an international city bustling with potential new friends and foreign cultures? We know we’ve been caught pining after life in some exotic metropolitan on more than one occasion.

To satisfy our curiosity, we dug around in the global real estate market and discovered some interesting details about property prices in 30 of our top international contenders.

First, How’d We Do It?

We picked 30 cities that seem like the perfect places to relocate (in case we want to test out a new lifestyle), and from there figured out property costs.

With the help of lists like Plan B Economics’ Most Expensive Cities in the World, we were able to calculate the average price per square foot for our chosen cities.

Here, we look at how much square footage you can purchase with $250,000–about the average price of a home in America. Then, using sites such as Numbeo and The Guardian’s visualization, we calculated what some of your regular expenses–think morning coffee runs and gym memberships–would be in each city.

You just might be surprised to find what $250,000 will (or won’t) buy you in these international cities.

Pick a City, Any City

A glimpse of Movoto's interactive city tool sorter.

1. Athens, Greece

At $781 per square foot, you could afford a space of 320 square feet, or just under 30 square meters. This is practically a steal compared to some of the other European cities on our list, in part because of the country’s struggle with bankruptcy.

The historic city is unfortunately undergoing an extensive financial crisis, with the latest numbers recording unemployment rates of 25 percent. So if you’re considering calling Athens your new home, here are some costs to keep in mind:

  • One gallon of gasoline: $8.34
  • Monthly gym membership: $58.28
  • Movie theater ticket: $10.44
  • Cup of coffee: $4.53
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $7.77


2. Auckland, New Zealand

For $250,000 you could buy about 340 square feet in Auckland, or just under 32 square meters. Considering the average home size in this city is around 150 square meters, you probably wouldn’t fare too well.

One upside to moving to Auckland: the city has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world, which could be cool if you’re looking for an exotic husband or wife–or just a new cultural experience. Regular expenses are similar, if on the higher side, compared to some of America’s metro areas:

  • One gallon of gasoline: $6.65
  • Monthly gym membership: $78.88
  • Movie theater ticket: $13.02
  • Cup of coffee: $3.68
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $8.17


3. Barcelona, Spain

A quarter of a million dollars would buy you 508 square feet (47 square meters) of living space in Spain’s second-largest city, at $492 per square foot.

If you’re dying to move to Europe but can’t afford the rather absurd living costs in the most popular cities, Barcelona might be your perfect destination. The best part? Continuing your coffee fix won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $6.95
  • Monthly gym membership: $64.75
  • Movie theater ticket: $10.44
  • Cup of coffee: $2.27
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $8.42


4. Beijing, China

With a single square foot costing $432, you’d be able to afford 579 square feet (just under 54 square meters) of living space.

Beijing is one of the more reasonably priced Asian cities on our list, so if a move across the Pacific Ocean is in your near future, Beijing might be the affordable way to go. Be prepared to pay for your physical health though, because gym memberships run around 80 bucks–more than $30 higher than in Shanghai.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $4.89
  • Monthly gym membership: $79.89
  • Movie theater ticket: $16.76
  • Cup of coffee: $4.23
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $4.39


5. Buenos Aires, Argentina

With $250,000 in hand, you’d be able to purchase a decent 1,250 square-foot property (116 square meters) in Buenos Aires. This South American city averages $200 per square foot, making it one of the cheapest cities on our list to buy a home.

At rank 121 on Mercer’s list of the most expensive cities to live in, Buenos Aires could be the perfect place to call home–just get used to using public transportation to avoid gas prices.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $5.37
  • Monthly gym membership: $50.00
  • Movie theater ticket: $8.93
  • Cup of coffee: $3.10
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $9.00


6. Copenhagen, Denmark

In the capital of Denmark, $250,000 would buy you roughly 585 square feet (54 square meters). Known for its exceptional quality of life and environmental awareness, Copenhagen is the perfect locale if you’re devoted to sustainability and are concerned with your current lifestyle standards.

If Copenhagen is your dream city of residence, you better be fond of crappy weather: it rains about every other day on average. Looks like you’ll be paying a high price for a high quality of life.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $7.06
  • Monthly gym membership: $45.04
  • Movie theater ticket: $14.87
  • Cup of coffee: $5.26
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $10.51


7. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

At just $156 per square foot, you could purchase 1,602 square feet of space (148 square meters) for $250,000.

A downside to moving to Dubai? The temperature–the winter average is 73 °F and summers run at an average of 108 °F. But if you can withstand the heat, Dubai is the perfect place to drive the biggest gas-guzzler you can find, since gas costs less than $2 a gallon.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $1.77
  • Monthly gym membership: $108.90
  • Movie theater ticket: $10.00
  • Cup of coffee: $4.00
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $5.99


8. Geneva, Switzerland

A single square foot will cost you $1,430 in Geneva, and for $250,000 you’d be able to purchase just under 175 square feet (16 square meters).

This diplomatic city could be the perfect destination for anyone preaching coexistence who happens to have bills spilling out of their wallet. Geneva was ranked fifth on the 2012 Mercer survey of the most expensive cities to live in, and we can see why.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $7.46
  • Monthly gym membership: $107.12
  • Movie theater ticket: $19.43
  • Cup of coffee: $6.57
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $13.66


9. Hong Kong, China

In Hong Kong, $250,000 would buy you all of 132 square feet (12 square meters) with the average price per square foot at $1,893. Ranked ninth by Mercer, the city has an extremely high population density with seven million inhabitants.

The city’s high demand for housing contributes to its absurdly high property prices, and also has a less-than-stellar affect on the price of your regular cup of java. In fact, moving to Hong Kong could be the perfect push to kick that caffeine addiction.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $8.36
  • Monthly gym membership: $67.73
  • Movie theater ticket: $9.35
  • Cup of coffee: $6.83
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $3.87


10. Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul’s relatively low price per square foot of $287 means that with $250,000 you could buy 871 square feet, or just under 81 square meters.

Formerly known as Constantinople, Turkey’s largest city could be the perfect destination for those who prefer a Mediterranean climate and access to two entire continents. A portion of Istanbul lies in Europe, while another part lies in Asia. All that traveling will cost you quite a bit in gas, however.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $9.35
  • Monthly gym membership: $69.02
  • Movie theater ticket: $8.31
  • Cup of coffee: $3.02
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $6.63


11. Jakarta, Indonesia

In Jakarta, $250,000 could buy you 2,252 square feet (209 square meters)–what’s known as a comfortably sized living space in the poverty-stricken area.

The extensive metropolitan is by far one of the more affordable cities on our list, with a square foot costing only $111. That leaves you plenty of cash to afford your must-have monthly expenses:

  • One gallon of gasoline: $3.18
  • Monthly gym membership: $48.46
  • Movie theater ticket: $5.22
  • Cup of coffee: $2.19
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $4.43


12. Johannesburg, South Africa

At $101 per square foot, Johannesburg is easily the least expensive city of all that we selected. If you went to Johannesburg with $250,000 for a home, you’d be able to purchase one that is 2,475 square feet, or about 230 square meters.

With prices that low, you could afford a luxury home, but you may have to worry about your safety as a trade-off. Johannesburg was ranked the world’s 50th most dangerous city by Business Insider–although New Orleans was ranked 21, so if you can survive in Louisiana, you’ll be fine in Johannesburg.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $4.73
  • Monthly gym membership: $48.28
  • Movie theater ticket: $5.19
  • Cup of coffee: $2.04
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $4.54


13. London, United Kingdom

A square foot of property will cost you $1,905 in London, which means you would be able to purchase 131 square feet (12 square meters) with $250,000. For perspective, that’s not much larger than the size of the average bathroom in America, which run from 35 to 80 square feet.

Even fulfilling your basic desires will add up in the world’s 25th most expensive city, where a ticket to the movies averages $20 and a pair of jeans will cost you $129.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $8.29
  • Monthly gym membership: $80.61
  • Movie theater ticket: $19.34
  • Cup of coffee: $4.35
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $8.06


14. Luanda, Angola

In Luanda, $250,000 will buy you approximately 449 square feet (41 square meters) of living space, with a single square foot costing $557. The capital of Angola has a surprisingly cheap price tag for property considering it ranks number two on Mercer’s list.

Luanda may be the second most expensive city to live in, but the city has some of the cheapest gas we’ve seen, thanks to being the capital of Africa’s second largest oil producer.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $2.38
  • Monthly gym membership: $389.32
  • Movie theater ticket: $12.84
  • Cup of coffee: $3.90
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $20.29


15. Mexico City, Mexico

In Mexico’s capital you could afford 1,420 square feet of house, or about 132 square meters, with a quarter of a million dollars. A single square foot costs $176 in the brightly hued metropolitan.

If you’re looking for a city with rich history, a lively culture, and affordable prices, Mexico City might be just the place. The city formerly known as Tenochtitlan offers more museums than any other city in the world, and makes it easy for you to feed your coffee and fast-food cravings.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $3.03
  • Monthly gym membership: $68.23
  • Movie theater ticket: $4.67
  • Cup of coffee: $2.34
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $4.68


16. Moscow, Russia

At $1,292 per square foot, you could afford 193 square feet (17 square meters) of living space in Moscow with $250,000. This “megacity” could be the perfect location to immerse yourself in a foreign culture and surround yourself with millions of potential friends.

Living in Russia’s capital doesn’t come cheap–you have to pay more for a cup of coffee than a combo meal from McDonald’s–but it would give you the chance to sidle up to the largest community of billionaires in the world.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $3.67
  • Monthly gym membership: $87.75
  • Movie theater ticket: $18.79
  • Cup of coffee: $8.37
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $6.82


17. Mumbai, India

With one square foot of house priced at $1,050 in Mumbai, you could purchase 238 square feet, or 22 square meters. Considering the average size of luxury home in Mumbai is 1,076 square feet, you should probably get used to a lower level of comfort if Mumbai is your next destination.

If you don’t mind living small or dealing with crowds, moving to the fourth most populous city in the world could be worth it for its reasonable living expenses (aside from gas).

  • One gallon of gasoline: $5.01
  • Monthly gym membership: $23.16
  • Movie theater ticket: $4.73
  • Cup of coffee: $1.42
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $3.26


18. Paris, France

With a single square foot costing $1,678, your perfect Parisian home would be all of 148 square feet (13 square meters) if you planned to spend $250,000. The city may be known for its petite housing options, but this is even smaller than Paris hotel rooms, which run around 161 square feet.

As expected, living in The City of Light will cost you in more than just housing fees, because it’s ranked 37th of Mercer’s most expensive cities. Which means you’ll be paying more for Le Big Mac in Paris than New York City (a combo meal costs $6.62 in The Big Apple).

  • One gallon of gasoline: $8.54
  • Monthly gym membership: $106.63
  • Movie theater ticket: $13.49
  • Cup of coffee: $5.40
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $7.96


19. Prague, Czech Republic

At $479 a square foot, $250,000 in Prague will get you just under 522 square feet, or 48 square meters. With prices like that, the 1,100-year-old city has the charm and excitement of other renowned European cities without the hefty price tag.

Prague offers the perfect blend of a thriving historical presence and an affordable monthly budget. With a cup of coffee at $2.11 and a gym membership costing just over $52, fueling up to stay healthy just got a whole lot easier.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $6.99
  • Monthly gym membership: $52.83
  • Movie theater ticket: $8.45
  • Cup of coffee: $2.11
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $6.33


20. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

If you wanted to move to Rio, $250,000 would buy you a home equivalent to 744 square feet (69 square meters) at a price of $336 per square foot.

A unique cultural atmosphere makes Rio ideal for anyone looking to try their hand in the South American climate, although you will have to get used to slightly higher prices.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $5.39
  • Monthly gym membership: $98.26
  • Movie theater ticket: $10.32
  • Cup of coffee: $2.21
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $8.85


21. Rome, Italy

One square foot of living space in Rome will cost you $905, meaning that you could afford 276 square feet (25 square meters) with a quarter of a million bucks. That’s about half the size of the typical Rome apartment.

The Italian capital could be the perfect spot to relocate for history and architecture buffs, with its fusion of art, culture, and history. You should expect to pay slightly higher prices, because Rome was ranked 42nd by Mercer–but a cappuccino will cost you little more than pocket change.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $8.92
  • Monthly gym membership: $78.56
  • Movie theater ticket: $10.15
  • Cup of coffee: $1.44
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $9.10


22. Shanghai, China

This Chinese city is surprisingly one of the lower-priced cities on our list, with a single square foot priced at $340. Which means you’d be able to buy 735 square feet (68 square meters) with $250,000.

Despite its lower real estate prices, Shanghai was ranked the 16th-most-expensive city to live in by Mercer.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $5.06
  • Monthly gym membership: $47.89
  • Movie theater ticket: $12.97
  • Cup of coffee: $7.27
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $4.11


23. Singapore, Republic of Singapore

You could afford 164 square feet (15 square meters) in Singapore, with a single square foot costing just over $1,500. Another commodity that you’ll find to be pricey is the permit you need to buy a new car: it runs from $46,000 to $67,000 (and no, that doesn’t include the price of the car itself).

Tied (with Zurich) as the sixth most expensive city in the world, Singapore’s prices don’t seem too unreasonable (as long as you trade in the gym for jogging or home workouts). One balancing factor to keep in mind is the average salaries in the city are correspondingly high.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $6.55
  • Monthly gym membership: $98.42
  • Movie theater ticket: $8.20
  • Cup of coffee: $5.18
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $5.74


24. Stockholm, Sweden

At $877 per square foot, living space in Stockholm is rather affordable for a European city. You’d be able to purchase 285 square feet, or 26 square meters, with $250,000.

Considering its vibrant cultural scene and abundance of museums, the Scandinavian city may be worth relocating to even though it made the tail-end of Mercer’s list (rank 46).

  • One gallon of gasoline: $8.04
  • Monthly gym membership: $68.26
  • Movie theater ticket: $15.93
  • Cup of coffee: $4.55
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $9.51


25. Sydney, Australia

For $250,000 you could become a Sydneysider in a home measuring 306 square feet (28 square meters). With a single square foot costing $815, this size is a far cry from Sydney’s average property size of 3,487 square feet–the largest of any city in the world.

The city down under also boasts one of the highest movie ticket prices anywhere, so if Sydney seems like your calling, you might want to invest in Netflix.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $6.10
  • Monthly gym membership: $87.01
  • Movie theater ticket: $20.23
  • Cup of coffee: $5.45
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $7.91


26. Tel Aviv, Israel

With a single square foot of home priced at $652, Tel Aviv could be worth relocating to. For $250,000 you’d be able to afford 383 square feet (35 square meters)–maybe not ideal, but also not unheard of.

Tel Aviv is known as “The City That Never Sleeps,” meaning it could be the perfect destination if you’re looking for a new home with endless adventures outside your door.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $7.57
  • Monthly gym membership: $76.84
  • Movie theater ticket: $9.97
  • Cup of coffee: $3.41
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $10.50


27. Tokyo, Japan

At a cost of $1,405 per square foot, a Tokyo home for $250,000 would consist of 177 square feet, or 16 square meters. While the price of buying a house doesn’t seem so bad, there’s a reason that the Japanese metropolis is ranked number one on Mercer’s 2012 list of the most expensive cities to live in.

If you are considering moving to the world’s most populous city, beware of absurd prices (a monthly gym membership will cost you more than $1,500). We suggest you take your cardio outside and rely on running or YouTube exercise videos.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $7.34
  • Monthly gym membership: $1,516.44
  • Movie theater ticket: $23.44
  • Cup of coffee: $8.29
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $8.44


28. Toronto, Canada

Looking to try life in a different country without stepping too far out of your comfort zone? Toronto may be the perfect place, where you can buy 324 square feet (30 square meters) at a price of $770 per square foot.

Although the average size of a house in Toronto is 1,900 square feet, Canadian homes are shrinking to as small as 500 square feet–meaning 324 square feet could work if you don’t have a large family to relocate along with yourself. Another advantage is that prices for your typical expenses will be comparable to that of major U.S. cities.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $4.91
  • Monthly gym membership: $58.29
  • Movie theater ticket: $13.18
  • Cup of coffee: $3.55
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $8.11


29. Vienna, Austria

At $1,319 per square foot, Austria’s capital could be your home for $250,000 if you’re capable of living in a space of 189 square feet (17 square meters)–and can find a house that small.

This artistic metropolis is worth the price tag though: Vienna was ranked as the second most livable city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2012 report. Your daily expenses will also be more reasonably priced than cities such as Tokyo and Paris.

  • One gallon of gasoline: $7.03
  • Monthly gym membership: $68.71
  • Movie theater ticket: $11.78
  • Cup of coffee: $3.27
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $9.16


30. Zurich, Switzerland

In Zurich, $250,000 will buy you about 112 square feet of space, or just over 10 square meters. With a cost of $2,220 per square foot, Zurich is ranked as the sixth most expensive city to live in by Mercer’s 2012 study.

If you’re thinking of relocating to this Swiss paradise, you’ll have to pay a high price for low tax rates and quality education. Take a look at some of the basic living costs:

  • One gallon of gasoline: $7.38
  • Monthly gym membership: $104.28
  • Movie theater ticket: $19.47
  • Cup of coffee: $6.02
  • McDonald’s combo meal: $13.63



The Movoto blog is a service of Movoto Real Estate. If you’re looking for a new home, keep us in mind. We have up-to-date real estate listings and local agents throughout the country. When you want to take a break from browsing homes, you can keep coming back to read awesome blog posts like this one.

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Looking for a new home? Movoto’s got you covered. With millions of listings, plenty of property information, and established agents all over the country, we make finding your future home simple. And when you’re ready to take a break from browsing homes, you can always come back here to learn more about your favorite cities.

posted on: November 13, 2012
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