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San Francisco Real Estate Prices Among Most Inflated in the World

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Only three cities worldwide kept pace since 2012

It’s old news by now that San Francisco has some of the most expensive real estate in America, to the point that if you want to keep things interesting it may be time to start making comparisons overseas.

In an Economist study of housing prices in 26 countries around the world, San Francisco beat out nearly every other cited city. The study found roughly a 5.1 percent annual increase in home prices in wealthy countries worldwide, and an average of an 8.3 percent increase in major cities in those countries.

But in San Francisco, prices have spiked 12 percent annually, double the average for the rest of the country.

Even such international hot spots as Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Paris, Stockholm, and Zurich haven’t seen San Francisco's type of jarring growth. Only Vancouver, Sidney, and Shanghai were comparable.

Also of note — and just a warning, you’re probably going to hate this — is that the Economist fingers exactly the culprit you probably suspect, citing a 93 percent correlation between the growth of the NASDAQ and inflation of San Francisco home prices since 2008.

The good news, if there is any, is that while we might be bleeding faster than almost any other city in the world, the wound itself isn’t as bad. Inflation may be up, but in terms of the actual price of housing, San Francisco doesn’t rank nearly as bad as the likes of London, Monaco, or Hong Kong.

According to the Knight Frank Wealth Report for 2016, a home in Monaco averages $5,464 per square foot. In Hong Kong, it’s $4,651. Fourth-place New York City is the most expensive American city on the list, for $3,436 per square foot. Beijing rounds out the top ten at $1,602. In San Francisco today, the price hovers around $920 per square foot.

Small comfort. But at least it’s there.