The most expensive U.S. cities for construction

October 13, 2021

New York City fell to sixth place worldwide in terms of the most expensive cities to build in

For better or worse, the majority of the most expensive cities in the world for construction in 2021 are not located in the U.S. Only two of the global top 10 - New York and San Fransciso - are American.

According to a report from Netherlands-based consultant Arcadis, the most expensive city in the world in which to build is Geneva, Switzerland. It edged out London, which fell from the top spot to number two this year.

It was followed by three other European cities: Copenhagen, Denmark; Oslo, Norway; and Zurich, Switzerland.

New York, which was second on the list in 2020, has fallen to sixth place due in part to the consequences of the U.S. dollar tumbling during the pandemic. Both construction activity and demand were heavily impacted, especially by the restrictions introduced during the first wave of Covid when all nonessential construction had to stop for almost three months.

San Francisco ranked seventh worldwide this year, declining two positions from fifth place last year, also due to the weakened dollar. Construction activity went offline for one week only and was allowed to continue for the rest of the year. 

Rounding out the top 10 in the world were Hong Kong in eighth place, followed by Dublin, Ireland in ninth and Macau, China in tenth.

Here’s how things stack up here in the U.S.:

1. New York (6 worldwide)

2. San Francisco (7)

3. Boston (16)

4. Philadelphia (20)

5. Seattle (27)

6. Chicago (31)

7. Los Angeles (33)

8. Washington, D.C. (36)

9. Las Vegas (37)

10. Detroit (51)

To see the full report and world rankings, click here

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