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San Francisco overtakes Tokyo as the world’s most expensive city for construction

Building Team

San Francisco overtakes Tokyo as the world’s most expensive city for construction

Inflation, supply chain woes, and demand from tech companies drive costs.


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | July 20, 2022
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco is the most expensive city for construction. Courtesy Pixabay.

San Francisco has overtaken Tokyo as the world’s most expensive city for construction, according to a new report from Turner & Townsend.

The cost for construction in San Francisco is $439.29 per square foot. North America had four markets in the top 10. New York City ranked fourth, Boston ranked eighth, and Los Angeles ranked ninth.

Cost increases in North America were due to the strengthening of the U.S. dollar, higher building material costs driven by supply chain disruptions, and high labor costs. The report found that 38.6% of markets surveyed were classified as “hot” (28.4%) or “overheating” (10.2%). These markets have conditions that risk acting as a brake on development. This is an increase of 10% over 2021, while the number of “cold” markets fell from six to one.

The rankings with the price per square foot, according to the report, are:

  1. San Francisco  $439.29
  2. Tokyo              $433.37
  3. Osaka, Japan   $423.49
  4. New York City $419.67
  5. Geneva           $402.47
  6. Zurich              $398.16
  7. Hong Kong      $393.58
  8. Boston             $371.46
  9. Los Angeles     $369.92
  10. London           $363.23

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