Making do with a small apartment is something many people feel forced to consider when renting in a big city.

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Location is king but so is cash, so size gets to be compromised on very often. However, if you just don’t want to sacrifice size on the altar of an expensive location, things tend to get really frustrating. What a time to be alive, huh?

This week, US-based internet listing service, RENTCafé shows us what can you get for the same amount of money in the 30 most magnetic cities around the world.

But what makes these cities magnetic?

The Mori Memorial Foundation’s Institute for Urban Strategies has your answer in their Global Power City Index research. Their summary ranks each city in terms of their attractiveness, based on six main criteria: economy, research and development, cultural interaction, livability, environment, and accessibility.

Study highlights:

  • Sydney is the 14th most attractive financial hub for creatives and business people. However, living here means compromising on space a little bit: $1,500 will only get you a 50-sq. m. apartment, which is way less than Shanghai for example, but it’s almost double the space Londoners rent for the same amount.
  • If you’re thinking Europe, Berlin would be the best choice: for $1,500 here, renters get a whopping 139 sq. m. worth of “home”.
  • For those who like plenty of elbow room, Istanbul is the answer: local renters are looking at an amazing 1,899 sq. ft. in Turkey’s largest city.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, New Yorkers get the least amount of space for their money, with a miserly 26 sq. m. for $1,500 in Manhattan. They are followed by Londoners, who also need to give up space just to live in the world’s most desirable financial hub.

$1,500 per Month—from 277 Sq. Ft. In Manhattan, NY to 1,889 Sq. Ft. In Istanbul, TR

Starting from this list, with the help of RENTCafé’s ever loyal market data friend, Yardi Matrix, they managed to calculate how much space will $1,500 rent you in each of these cities.

As you can see in the below table and chart, $1,500 will rent you three times more space in Shanghai than in Los Angeles and twice as much in Frankfurt. The per-square-foot price is more than five times higher in San Francisco than in Berlin—basically, the German capital would offer you a five times larger living space than San Francisco, for the same amount of money.

It might be hard to picture this, so here’s something easier: the size of an apartment in Istanbul equals the size of seven hypothetical Manhattan apartments you’d rent for $1,500/month. This is how the 1-1 ratio goes:

Because the numbers involved are essential, we included a table stuffed with all the data used in the study. Depending on the measurement units you’re used to, you can check the price per square foot or per square meter in any of the 30 cities analyzed in this study. We’ve also included exactly how much space one can rent for $1,500 based on the average price per square foot (the same data we used in the infographic above), so feel free to sort the cities by the criteria which is of interest to you.

Here’s something surprising: four Western European cities compete with Manhattan, San Francisco and Hong Kong in terms of high per-square-foot prices. London, Paris and the Swiss beauties Zurich and Geneva offer under 350 sq. ft. for $1,500/month:


Manhattan vs. Seoul

Boasting a high ranking in the GPCI in terms of research & development, economy and cultural interaction, New York City is the second most magnetic global hub—a desirable place to call home.  It doesn’t come as a surprise that a financial center such as Manhattan offers only 277 sq. ft. (26 m2) for $1,500.  Besides being a winner in terms of career opportunity, The City that Never Sleeps measures up to its reputation, much to the delight of the outgoing night owl in you.

Similar to New York in terms of architecture, entertainment and employment options, Seoul tells the story from another angle. In Seoul, the same amount of money will rent you no less than a 1,389-sq.-ft. (129 m2) apartment, which means that you get to make yourself at home in a highly generous living space. The top educational system, the remarkable public transportation network and the modern, yet traditional allure make for an amazing city to call home.

San Francisco vs. Vienna

Smaller, less hustly-bustly and slightly less expensive than NYC, San Francisco is among the most coveted cities in the world. There is no shortage of cultural diversity and entertainment options here. For $1,500 a month, you can rent a 316-sq.-ft. (29 m2) apartment in The Golden Gate City and enjoy the perks of living in one of the best places of opportunity in the US.

If you’d rather not downsize your living space to 316 sq. ft. (29 m2) , the good news is that you can triple it instead by moving to Austria. A monthly sum of $1,500 would rent you 1,009 sq. ft. (94 m2) of living space on average in the gorgeous city of Vienna, making it one of the most affordable Western European cities out of the batch. Here wellness meets opportunity, so your career is sure to be in good hands. The City of Music also runs the gamut of entertainment options from museums, vintage cinemas, live shows to recreational parks and hiking trails.

Article courtesy of RENTCafé