Location, Location: world-leading real estate

Combine rising house prices with covetable cultural, geographical and economic assets and you have some of the world’s best places to live

With the nature of business and commerce rapidly changing in the world today, global citizens increasingly believe they can live, work and invest anywhere they choose, making savvy decisions about the best real estate on the planet

Dubai

In Dubai, house prices rose by 19 per cent in 2012, one of the factors that makes the emirate one of the top real estate markets on the planet according to Forbes’ magazine’s annual ranking of ‘The Hottest Real Estate Markets On Earth’. Dubai is regaining its stature as a savvy place to invest in property and areas such as Dubai Marina and Arabian Ranches are particularly popular with foreign buyers.

The oil boom helped turn Dubai into an economic juggernaut and now the country’s diversification into an outward looking sustainable economy based on trading and tourism is drawing ambitious workers from across the world to its shores. Residents benefit from tax-free incomes and a good lifestyle with plenty of leisure activities including beautiful beaches and world-class shopping.

Hong Kong

Further East, a three-bedroom house in the Parkview neighbourhood of Hong Kong typically comes with a price tag of over US$4m. Judged by Forbes as the best global location for real estate, the Asian powerhouse’s pole position is echoed in other global studies.

The good schooling, housing, transport connections and availability of goods and services on offer are part of the reason the metropolis takes pole position in Forbes’ ranking. A dynamic centre of commerce, the city bustles with excitement but at the same time offers repose. Only a short 30-minute ferry ride and you are in tranquil havens such as Lamma Island.

Vienna

European eyes are on Austria, where housing prices rose by more than 10 per cent last year. The country’s capital Vienna is known the world over for its grand architecture, hundreds of museums, elegant parks and sophisticated cafes. The belle of middle Europe is also widely regarded as one of the most desirable places to live and has also held onto the top spot in Mercer’s Quality of Life index for four years running. It is ranked first among 221 cities worldwide and aside from the obvious culture and beauty; its coveted position is attributed to a combination of rising living standards, low crime and advanced city infrastructure.

With many embassies and global companies located in the city, a large international community adds to the cosmopolitan atmosphere here. While the attractions abound, real estate is attractively low compared with other European capitals such as London or Paris and prices in Vienna’s coveted First District is estimated around US$19,000 per square metre.