What a £500,000 Property Looks Like Around the World

If you have £500,000 to spend on a property, you would expect to purchase a decent sized house, in a good area, with generous proportions. Not necessarily so, as it depends on where you want to buy. House prices fluctuate wildly across the globe, so what exactly can you buy these days for half a million pounds?

The cost of living is generally higher in cities compared to more rural locations, with prices of properties also fluctuating depending on the country.  

According to a recent report by Frank Knight,  the most expensive places in the world include London, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Los Angeles, Palm Beach, Cote D’Azur, Malibu, the Caribbean and Monaco. Ski resorts, such as Aspen and St. Moritz, are also looking set to become high-value property locations. Finding properties in these areas for £500,000 could be challenging.


What factors affect property prices?

When looking at property, you may wonder why prices fluctuate between areas. This is all down to different factors, including but not limited to:

  • State of the economy
  • Unemployment levels
  • Exchange rates
  • Interest rates
  • Income levels
  • Consumer confidence
  • Mortgages availability
  • Size of the population
  • Affordability of housing
  • Supply and demand
  • Desirability
  • Investment
  • Transport links to commercial area
  • Local amenities

These factors are constantly changing globally, which is why different geographical areas see such a wide range of prices.

To find out what you can get for half a million pounds, let’s look at what is available around the world for your money.


You can purchase a 2 bed flat in the Water Gardens Square development, starting at £525,000. Although the flats are not large, they do offer nicely proportioned bedrooms and a spacious open plan living area. Plus, you are buying the convenience of good transport links into the city centre, a concierge, security service and a sought-after parking spot. It’s also served by good local amenities and pleasant gardens featuring an ornate pool with fountain.

The lounge area of a 2 bed flat in London
Source: Rightmove.co.uk


A street in London with period style flats
Source: www.thetravel.com

You could also get a pleasant flat like this one. This attractive period flat sits in a pleasant residential area, but again, you would not get much space for your money, as it only covers about 500 square feet. Of course, the further out of London a property is, the bigger the square footage is, but you lose the convenience of the city centre location.

North Yorkshire

As a comparison to the capital city, move north and you will get a lot more for your money. For £550,000 asking price, you could purchase this large 5-bedroom family home, set in extensive gardens with great views across the village and surrounding countryside. With three bathrooms, conservatory and double garage with parking, there’s no shortage of space.

Purchase a 5-bedroom family house in the Yorkshire countryside
Source: Rightmove.co.uk


In the vibrant and beautiful city of Singapore, you can be the proud owner of a condo in the desirable area of Parc Botannia. A two bedroom flat in the new build project covers 500-700 sq. ft and comes partially furnished. The gated community features stunning grounds and gardens, complete with activities, tennis courts, hidden hammocks and swings, an outdoor pool and gym. Set in a convenient location, with easy access to major areas of the city, the property also benefits from an onsite childcare centre. You really are buying a luxury location here, and what the flat lacks in large spaces, it makes up for in facilities.

A 2 bed condo in the Parc Botannia area in Singapore
Source: iProperty.com


Ranked within the top ten most expensive housing markets, £500,000 does not secure a lot of floor space in Paris. But, sitting on the 8th floor of this desirable residence, this studio apartment has enviable views across to the Eiffel Tower. The area has been efficiently designed to provide a spacious and uncluttered feel. Complete with a hall that has fitted cupboards, the main area encompasses a living room/bedroom and a fully fitted open kitchen, as well as a well-appointed bathroom. The small balcony allows for a place to fully enjoy the stunning views. You may not get a huge amount of space for £500,000 in Paris, but what you do get is a room with a view, in one of the most romantic and iconic cities in the world.

An apartment in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower
Source: Rightmove.co.uk

New York

Across New York city there is a range of properties available for £500,000, from one-bed apartments to 6+ bed houses (which are available further from the city centre). A typical example is this 2-3 bed condo, with open plan kitchen/diner/living room, located in Brooklyn. It’s light, airy and modern inside, with plenty of big windows. It also has great investment potential, as this area is expected to increase in value over the next few years. Admittedly, there are no stunning views but property in the area is showing signs of regeneration and modernisation.

Open plan apartment in Brooklyn
Source: Trulia.com

Or you could invest in a one-bed condo in Williamsburg, complete with a shared indoor swimming pool, spa, jacuzzi, sauna, gym, pleasant gardens and a stunning rooftop terrace. The property may be small, but it comes loaded with facilities, as well as big picture windows and a small balcony. There are also some pleasant outdoor green parks nearby, and signs of development in the area. Good transport links and local amenities also make this a desirable area in which to live.

An open plan condo in Williamsburg New York with a roof top terrace
Source: Trulia.com

If you prefer Manhattan, your dollars become less valuable as you pay for the area, one of the most sought after in the world. You could get a studio right in the heart of Manhattan, but you will be paying for location, not size. However, you will be right in the thick of the action.

A studio apartment in central Manhattan New York
Source: Thetravel.com

Head out onto Melville, Long Island and you could be the proud owner of the 3-bedroom detached colonial property, sitting in its own grounds with garage. Commutable to central New York, this property has a distinctly country ambience, making it perfect for a small family.

A colonial property in Melville Long Island
Source: Trulia.com


Finding a property in the heart of Sydney for £500,000 is difficult, but you can still buy close to the centre. Property growth rates are declining slightly, from 12% in 2017 to 5.7% in June 2018. So, although it is can be challenging to find more affordable housing near the centre, there are still properties available within this price range. This example in Arncliffe is easily commutable to the centre and sits on a secure complex. A family home, it boasts 4 large bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and ample space. It also overlooks a park and has a modern, clean feel.

An open plan kitchen/lounge area of a home in Sydney
Source: Realestatereview.com

Rio de Janeiro

In Rio, £500,000 is considered a good amount of money that can purchase you a little bit of luxury. For just under £500,00 you can purchase a 4-bedroom apartment on the peninsula of Barra, billed as the most valued and safe area in Rio de Janeiro. The apartment block benefits from security, a communal garden, private parking and swimming pool, as well as a private garden and large balcony. As well as three bathrooms, the condo does not lack for space and enjoys stunning views across the peninsula. This beautiful area has good transport links, as well as some attractive walks.

Apartment in Rio de Janeiro with views of the peninsula
Source: Rioexclusive.com


Rome also makes it into the list of most expensive cities in the world; no wonder, with its rich history and iconic tourist areas. However, we’ve found this beautiful property sitting between the parks of Villa ADA and Villa Borghese. Boasting a vaulted ceiling, it has a distinct feeling of space and light. Featuring two bedrooms, living room, bathroom and kitchen/diner, it has adequate room for a small family. Looking across the internal courtyard and the street, the condo enjoys some interesting views, as well as being in easy reach of some of Rome’s famous sights. The property is not right in the middle of Rome, but extremely accessible still.

Apartment near Villa Borghese park Rome
Source: Idealista.it

Look further afield towards the coast of Italy and you could pick up a bargain. This four-bed property comes within budget and offers much more space. However, the downside is you are further from the heart of Rome.

A property just outside of Rome
Source: Immobiliare.it


Many people in the UK have invested in Spanish property, as it offers affordable options for investors. Madrid is not the cheapest part of Spain, but with this delightful property just outside the city centre, you will feel as if you are permanently on holiday. The Salamanca district is one of the most sought-after areas of Madrid and this renovated penthouse casts views across the attractive surrounds. Completed to a high standard, the property benefits from high ceilings and natural light, providing a feeling of space. The two bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen/diner and living space have been tastefully refurbished but it is the terrace that steals the show. Complete with wooden decking, flower pots and shady blinds, it’s the perfect place to sit and just enjoy the views. Whether you choose to purchase this as a residence or as an investment property, this apartment has a lot of potential.

The balcony of a penthouse in the Salamanca district of Madrid
Source: Rightmove.co.uk


Head to the tip of Africa in Morocco and you start seeing a little more property for your £500,000. You can purchase a 4-bedroom villa complete with an outdoor private swimming pool and garden in a secured residence. The property featured here also comes with three large and well-fitted bathrooms, extensive living areas, separate dressing room off the master bedroom and generous windows affording good views across the property. Within easy reach of the city centre and its famous tourist attractions, this property lends itself to investment for holiday lets.

The living room of a secure residence property in Marrakesh
Source: Rightmove.co.uk

The bonus property – Hong Kong

Not actually a property, this ‘property ‘ is included to demonstrate the expense of Hong Kong. The parking space below was sold for a staggering $640,000 – which is more expensive than most people’s homes. Land is scarce in Hong Kong so even an 8×16 feet slab of concrete is worth a fortune.

A parking space in Hong Kong that sold for $640000
Source: Lam Ka-Sing

Affordable cities

Look beyond the top cities and you could purchase luxury property, in desirable areas, with plenty of space. The Caribbean provides some exciting investment properties for $500,000, including entire apartment blocks overlooking the ocean. Areas like Mumbai, India, where the exchange rate against the dollar is so high, you can purchase a luxury penthouse apartment.

A final word

Even in the high-end cities with large price tags on the property, it is still possible to find residences for £500,000 near to the city centres. Floor space may be tight in some of them, but that doesn’t mean you have to forego on a little luxury. With many condos featuring fantastic views, leisure facilities and private gardens, you don’t necessarily need to skimp on the nicer things in life.

These properties featured are the finished articles, and ready to live in immediately. If you are looking for investment properties, these provide examples of what property is worth in individual cities, after renovations. So, if you are considering buying and renovating in these areas, you could be looking at a good return on your money.