London most costly city in the world for construction

Aaron Morby 4 years ago
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London became the most expensive city in the world to build in, after rising up past New York and Hong Kong just before the Coronavirus pandemic struck.

According to the latest international construction costs report from consultant Arcadis, the UK capital jumped from sixth to top place in its survey.

A year ago London ranked behind New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Copenhagen and Geneva.

Edel Christie, UK Managing Director for Buildings at Arcadis, said: “Continuing investment in some of the highest quality residential, hotel and commercial developments in the world has bumped up London’s cost range over the past year.

Across the UK, the construction market grew at twice the speed of the wider economy, driven by housing and infrastructure.

Outside of London, UK cities are well represented in the top 25 most expensive cities in which to build.

Edinburgh ranked in 10th place, cementing its position as a regional hub, followed by Manchester and Birmingham, in 16th and 24th place after surges in activity across sectors including offices, hotels, retail, education and student housing are all indications of a booming local construction market.

The comparative data represents a valuable snapshot into the state of construction markets on the eve of the crisis.

Over the past three weeks, the UK has faced unprecedented challenges, with society locked-down and direct Government intervention to support the economy, business and families.

Construction has been badly affected, with work suspended on around 2,000 sites and prospects for future work severely affected.

The actions taken by clients, project teams and the wider supply chain over the weeks and months to come will have a significant bearing on the future health, capacity and capability of the UK construction sector said Christie.

“The Government’s interventions to help save jobs and keep the economy running are an example of short to mid-term measures to support resilience, responding to the sudden shock caused by the pandemic.”

But he warned that the industry’s gathering momentum to face up to the global climate change challenge must not be forgotten once Government’s start to rebuild economies after the pandemic.

“Globally, we now face the challenges that COVID-19 will bring. With the global disruption of the pandemic, there is a real risk that the momentum towards climate action will be lost.

“It is crucial that we overcome the crisis, while still enhancing resilience and sustainability, and plotting a course towards a carbon neutral future. The success of our industry’s future depends on our ability to respond to these challenges effectively.”

10 most expensive cities


  1. London                                                                    6. Copenhagen
  2. New York City                                                         7. Tokyo
  3. Hong Kong                                                              8. Zurich
  4. Geneva                                                                   9. Dublin
  5. San Francisco                                                         10. Edinburgh

Where do UK cities rank?

  1. London (1/100)
  2. Edinburgh (10/100)
  3. Bristol (14/100)
  4. Manchester (16/100)
  5. Glasgow (17/100)
  6. Liverpool (20/100)
  7. Leeds (21/100)
  8. Birmingham (24/100)
  9. Belfast (36/100)

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