For many of us, owning property is the end goal. We feel like we have finally made it once we have purchased our first home. And with good reason. Purchasing real estate is one of the best investments anyone can make. For the average person though, half a million dollars is quite a bit of money that we don't have. Many of us have to settle for price tags significantly lower. And for those who can shell out that kind of cash, they're often left with limited options depending on where they live.
Some luck out and can get a home that many of us can't even begin to fathom, while others are left counting pennies, trying to stretch every one of those $500,000 dollars out to get something even remotely acceptable. Sometimes it comes down to a choice of preference. What's more important - location or size? What's more important - luxury or convenience? Often by choosing somewhere a little further out from the main hub of these cities will stretch those dollars further as well.
Here's what half a million dollars will get you in 20 cities across the world.
20 Rio De Janeiro, Brazil - you can live the rio high-life
In Brazil's second largest and most captivating city, half a million dollars will get you some serious digs. At nearly 1,400 square feet, this spacious high end apartment in the heart of the city, centrally located, is on the nicer end of what you can get in major cities.
Priced at $477,000, with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, this unit is definitely on the luxurious side with modern architecture throughout. For a city that has large disparities between the low and high class, $500k is considered a sizeable amount that can land you a home on the more upscale side.
19 Manhattan, New York City, USA - Location yes, spacious no
In the heart of New York City, Manhattan's housing is among the most sought after real estate in the world, also making it some of the most expensive. In Manhattan, expect to get an apartment that is fairly small for half a million dollars. At 485 square feet, this apartment is a studio. You get one bathroom to go along with a living area and a kitchen.
The drawback is not much size for forking over so much money. The win here is that you get to live in one of the most exciting and bustling areas in the world. There's a reason why real estate is so costly in NYC. It pays to live in the city that is often referred to as the capital of the world.
18 Tokyo, Japan - slightly bigger than NYC, but still cosy
In the most populated city in the world, $500k will get you an apartment fairly similar to one you would find in Manhattan, New York for a similar price. At right under 600 square feet, you're actually getting a bit more space in this high rise residential tower unit compared to NYC. With a living room, bathroom and a bedroom, this standard apartment is in one of the more luxurious parts of a city that houses nearly 38 million residents.
17 Guanajuato, Mexico - Say thank you to that exchange rate
In a country where the US dollar is worth 18 Mexican pesos, it shouldn't come as a surprise that $500k goes an incredibly long way. With this kind of cash, you're able to buy a home that few dream of owning. At 3 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths and nearly 3,000 square feet, this house was designed by a famous architect, sitting on nearly an acre of land that overlooks much of the city below. If you have a cool half million saved up and want to live the good life, a trip south of the border might be in your best interest.
16 Hong Kong, China - a parking spot worth more than your house
This one's pretty crazy. At well over the $5ook mark, this Hong Kong parking spot is more expensive that most houses worldwide. In fact, Hong Kong, by most standards, is the most expensive real estate in the world and its parking spaces are no exception. The spot pictured above is one of the world's priciest at $640,00, purchased by a business executive. By any measure, this is a very average parking spot, which offers no cover, and is a standard slab of concrete.
The price is worth the dirty, oil-stained spot according to the owner because of its convenience in one of the world's most trafficked cities. If the price tag on a space that is no more than 8 by 16 feet in size can run that high, it stands to the reason homes in the city are going to be sky high.
15 Hong Kong, China (Again) - barely big enough for a bed
At a mere 375 square feet, Hong Kong continues to prove why it is the one of the most expensive cities in the world. Unfortunately for its residents, the quality of these expensive spaces are not what you'd hope for after shelling out half a million dollars. Home to more skyscrapers than any other city in the world, people are quite literally living on top of one another which means space is as limited as can be. It is not uncommon for the city's people to forego a bed and simply sleep on cots to make the most use of the small space available.
14 Houston, Texas, USA - Now that's more our style
With one of the most affordable housing markets in the entire country, Houston, Texas, America's 4th largest city, boasts real estate that would make much of the rest of the world jealous. At exactly $500k, you're able to snatch this incredible 4,000 square foot home up, which includes 4 beds and 3.5 baths.
You could fit about 8 apartment homes from the more expensive cities on this list into this Texas home. With a thriving economy due to its powerhouse presence in the oil, gas and energy industry, Houston is one of the country's most booming cities.
13 Paris, France - luxury building, small studio
In one of the world's most famous cities, Paris has some relatively expensive real estate. In fact it ranks 8th as far as priciest housing markets are concerned. For a half million, you're able to get a fairly high end luxury apartment in a beautiful building like the one above. The only catch is you're also getting a pretty small home for the price. At 452 square feet, you're essentially living in a studio and you'd be lucky to get a separate bedroom.
It's the price you pay to be able to live in a city known for its fashion, incredible food, famous landmarks, and incredible art.
12 London, England - it's no buckingham palace, but it'll do
Ranked 3rd on the list of most expensive cities in the world, you are going to have to get creative to stretch your money out when it comes to house hunting in London. As you would expect, $500k is going to get you a pretty small home at no more than 500 square feet. The plus side is you can get a flat in a nice part of the city in a residential building like the one above.
You can get more bang for your buck if you move further out from the center of London, but the point is to be in the heart of one of the world's most thriving cities.
11 Barcelona, Spain - And throw in a pool!
Spain actually shows up on several lists of countries with some of the most affordable housing available. In its most recognizable and visited city, Barcelona offers beautiful homes at a cost far lower than other cities of similar size and stature throughout the world. For $500k, you're able to get some pretty nice real estate including a home nearly 2,800 square feet in size to go along with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
Sometimes for a price in this range, it isn't uncommon for homes to come fully furnished and also have a pool. Not a bad deal if you're in the market for a home in Europe and have brushed up on your Spanish lately.
10 Athens, Greece - Close to all the history
Greece, another country with some of the more affordable real estate available, offers a lot of bang for your buck. At over 2,500 square feet, half a million dollars will get you a large home with 3 bedrooms or more. Although a home like the one pictured will likely be on the outskirts of Greece's most populated city, it's still within half an hour of Athens.
Known for its rich history, dating back to some of the most ancient civilizations, Greece homes offer beautiful architecture that are synonymous with the country.
9 Lisbon, Portugal - stunning backdrops, large houses
With landscapes that are often featured in travel magazines, the image of Portugal's backdrop has become familiar with homes lining the coast, overlooking the ocean. With houses similar to the ones featured above, it is not rare to be able to afford a 2,000 square foot home with over 4 bedrooms at our set price.
With picturesque neighborhoods overlooking beautiful landscapes, homeowners are often treated to views of the mountainside or the ocean off in the distance. Known for its quality of life, Portugal is an ideal destination.
8 Dorset, England - Because electricity and toilets are overrated
The UK shows up again on this list, but, surprisingly, this time London's expensive homes are being outdone. In Dorset, a small coastal county, famous for its beaches, real estate comes at a high price. Known for its tourism, its beaches are the main attraction and the local residents are quick to grab any available real estate on the coast.
Not quite at our price, but at nearly $350k, you can nab a coveted beach hut. In a few year's time, similar huts will be pushing half a million dollars because of increasing demand. With no electricity, toilet, or running water and no bigger than a bedroom, your main selling point is the unmatched access and views to the ocean, as the huts sit directly on Dorset’s sought after beaches.
7 Savannah, Georgia, USA - live in old Southern comfort luxury
At nearly 3,400 square feet, this Victorian mansion is one of the larger homes on our list. This home, built at the turn of the last century, is nearly 120 years old and has a historic charm that can only be found in the South. With a rich history and an antique feel, this Victorian mansion has 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, making it spacious. For $500k, you can transport yourself back in time and live in old Southern comfort luxury. You even get a veranda out the front to enjoy the fresh air, as an extra little bonus
6 Dublin, Ireland - Look at that backyard!
Not far from the country's largest city are idyllic homes across plains that Ireland has become famous for. Often seen in movies, sprawling plains of never ending green with beautiful homes on spacious land are common. One of the world's most affordable countries to live in, Ireland not only gives you spacious homes, but acres of land with incredible views of the ocean.
If a tranquil life is what you're after, a trip to Dublin for some house hunting might be on your to-do list.
5 Santa Cruz, Costa Rica - Eight apartments is better than one
If you are looking to get into the real estate industry, purchasing some property in the Caribbean might be your best option. For half a million, you can purchase an 8 unit condominium property overlooking the ocean. With ocean front views and over 16,000 square feet, it's hard to find a better deal on this list. Even better news... you are going to make some serious cash by using it as a rental property in one of the most visited islands in the Atlantic.
4 Mumbai, India - Penthouse luxury
Like Mexico, with the dollar being valued at an extremely high exchange rate to India's rupee, half a million dollars will go a long way. A very long way. In fact, it gets you over 34 million rupees and with that kind of money, you are going to be living rather lavishly.
In Mumbai, India's largest city at nearly 17 million residents, you are able to live in a 4,000 square foot penthouse in one of its luxurious residential towers.
3 Monaco, Monaco - the world's most expensive real estate
Located on the French Riviera, and surrounded by France, Monaco is home to the world's most expensive real estate property. The rich and the famous love to call it home away from home with lavish condos and penthouses priced at astronomical figures.
For right over half a million dollars, don't expect to get much though. Listed at 65 square feet, you can purchase a maid's room in one of the high end towers which comes with a sink and window. The toilet is located in the common area right next to your 10 ft. by 6 ft. area. The view of the city below is beautiful, but that's about the only benefit to this property.
2 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Known to the world as one of the most extravagant and over-the-top cities to vacation in, the cost of a home is surprisingly more affordable than its reputation suggests. Although still not cheap, half a million dollars will get you a 1,700 square foot villa in the city with a couple of bedrooms and high end upgrades around the home to go along with a private garden, balcony and covered parking. Not too shabby for what the world considers too rich for most.
1 Rome, Italy
One of the world's most beloved cities, The City of Love, has decent real estate options if you look hard enough. Often listed as one of the more expensive cities in the world, if you find your way a bit outside the city, you can find large homes in beautiful residential neighborhoods. For our set price, you can purchase a 3,500 square foot villa with 4 bedrooms right off the coast. Not bad for the Eternal City.