San Francisco — New York is the most expensive place in the world to rent an office. Singapore and London are not far behind. Random figures taken from the newest World Rental Levels Survey (Richard Ellis, San Francisco) put New York office space at $57.50 a square foot. Analysts note that office rentals are rarely tied to price indexes, but rather to supply-and-demand factors of the particular area. Hong Kong, which led the list as the most expensive last year, dropped this year below New York, Singapore ($54.50), and London ($48.60). Other cities in the survey were Chicago ($36.50), San Francisco ($35.25), Sydney ($32.25), Paris ($32), Houston ($30.75) , and Sao Paulo, Brazil ($22.50).
Consultants pointed out that raw figures used for the worldwide comparisons show base rent on local terms only. In many cities such as London, the added expense of service charges, property taxes, municipal fees, etc., can increase the gross rate paid on a square-footage basis.