Study Reveals the World’s Most Exclusive Cities

Study Reveals the World’s Most Exclusive Cities

  • Switzerland home to two of the world’s most exclusive cities –  
  • San Francisco beats NYC and LA as the most exclusive city in the US –

Luxury and exclusivity often go hand in hand, with the high prices associated with luxury living often limiting access to only a select few.

To find out where the world’s most affluent elite are most likely to call home or visit, TropicalBoat Luxury Yachts and Charter Rentals conducted a study to find out which major cities are the world’s most exclusive, analyzing the volume of high-end amenities, the number of high-net-worth individuals, as well as the costs associated with staying in these locations.

In first place as the world’s most exclusive city is Zurich. Home to Switzerland’s illustrious financial district, Zurich epitomises luxury living like no other.

It scores the highest of all cities in the estimated monthly living costs ($1,849 or £1,465) and Zurich also has the second-highest property prices in the world. Prospective buyers can expect to pay $27,275 (£21,607) per square meter for an apartment in the city centre, second only to Hong Kong at $28,522 (£22,595). Luckily, Zurich residents have the highest salaries in the world to help with these high costs, with an average monthly net salary of $7,970 (£6,312).

Zurich is well-known for being expensive. It tied first place with Singapore for the world’s most expensive city in a study conducted last year, while hiring drives by Google have seen the cost of apartments soaring past those of historically more expensive cities like New York and London, and more than double than those in Paris ($12,994 per square meter, or £10,291), raising concerns of a housing bubble.

Despite this, Zurich’s allure remains irresistible to those who value luxury and extravagance. The city is home to 76 Michelin-star restaurants, as well as 433 five-star hotels. Its exclusive shopping district, Bahnhofstrasse, was once considered the most expensive shopping street in the world, and the stunning waterfront of Lake Zurich makes it the perfect location to charter a luxury yacht or boat.

Just missing out on the top spot is San Francisco, with a normalised score of 9.98 out of 10.

San Francisco has some of the highest numbers of high-net-worth individuals of all major cities, with 285,000 millionaires, centi-millionaires and billionaires choosing The Bay Area as their permanent address. It has a higher concentration of billionaires than anywhere else in the world (63), thanks to it being a hub for tech entrepreneurs, as well as its pleasant climate, diverse culture and scenic waterfront vistas and landscapes.

The city also has the second-highest net monthly salary, at $7,387 (£5,850), as well as proportionally one of the highest densities of Michelin-star restaurants for residents and visitors to enjoy (2.15 restaurants per capita).

Surprisingly, San Franciscans have lower estimated living costs than New Yorkers, saving $133 (£105) per month. However, steeper property prices will set you back $17,306 (£13,706) per square meter for an apartment in central San Francisco, compared to $16,310 (£12,918) in The Big Apple.

In third place with an impressive score of 9.29 is Geneva. The city is the second Swiss city to make the top three most exclusive places to live in the world.

Though the city is cheaper to live in compared to Zurich, Geneva residents still have the third-highest property prices in the world ($20,646 per square meter, or £16,362) and the second-highest estimated monthly living costs ($1,694 excluding rent, or £1,342). Geneva residents also enjoy high average monthly net salaries ($6,620 or £5,243), more than double the average salary of those living in Paris ($3,118 or £2,469).

Although Geneva has far fewer high-net-worth individuals than many of the other cities studied (85,800), it has the highest concentration of luxury Michelin-star restaurants (2.55 per capita) and the third-highest concentration of five-star hotels (11 per capita).

Much like Zurich, Geneva is a major financial centre for some of the world’s biggest banks and richest players, with voters recently rejecting a bid to increase the wealth tax for its richest one percent. It’s also situated in a beautiful landscape, with the Swiss Alps visible from the city, and Lake Geneva a much-loved spot to sail aboard luxury boats and yachts.

New York City (8.68) and Paris (8.18) complete the top five most exclusive cities.

Kate Kalamaga, Founder, and owner of Tropicalboat Luxury Yacht Charters & Rentals commented: “It’s hardly unexpected that some of the world’s most sought-after and exclusive destinations are coastal or near bodies of water, with plenty of sailing opportunities. The allure of water has always captivated luxury enthusiasts, drawing them to picturesque coastal settings that offer a unique blend of serenity and sophistication.”

Photo by Janosch Diggelmann on Unsplash.

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