United Kingdom


London and Paris named as the top global cities in Europe

by Ray Clancy on March 17, 2017

If you are moving to live and work in Europe and want to feel that you are in a truly global city then the top choice is either London or Paris, according to new research.

Overall, European cities have many of the characteristics of highly successful world cities that make them very attractive to workers looking for an urban buzz and a high quality city lifestyle, says the latest analysis from real estate firm Savills.

Their authentic environments, varied cultural experience and high quality of living makes many European cities attractive not only to employees but also to employers and top locations continue to attract people as well as global investment, the firm’s European Cities report says.

Often, they act as hubs to wider, dispersed city networks. They are unlikely to lose this status in the foreseeable future and are adapting well to the digital age. London, Paris and Madrid now employ more people in their information and communication sectors than in their financial and insurance sectors.

But it is London and Paris that are the two most global cities in Europe and accommodation costs in these cities reflect that success. Large workforces result in high demand for space in the city which pushes up rents and land values in old cities where space is limited, the report points out.

But if you are looking for cheaper accommodation then costs have fallen in Milan, Dublin, Amsterdam, Moscow and Brussels to around half the cost of London at present. But the cheapest cities in Europe are Warsaw, Berlin. Frankfurt, Madrid and Stockholm. Warsaw is just over a quarter of the cost of London.

But costs are forecast to rise over the next year in Amsterdam, Dublin, Paris, Madrid, Milan and Stockholm while remain broadly stable in Brussels, Frankfurt, London and Warsaw.

The report explains that the digital age means that people no longer need to work in the most popular locations. Young creative workers, for example, are increasingly attracted to good, small cities offering cheaper accommodation as they are priced out of the big global financial centres.

It explains that this is part of the reason why some very small European cities like Berlin, Dublin and Amsterdam are hugely successful and punching above their weight economically.

But Brexit has raised questions on London’s future as a financial centre and speculation is rife as to which European city might win London’s business. The evidence in the report suggests that no single city will take London’s crown but rather the European Union passporting functions of many institutions will be dispersed throughout Europe to a variety of cities for different reasons.

It also suggests that some small cities, especially those in which it is easy for multinationals to do business, those with favourable tax regimes and strong English language capabilities could do well in attracting global companies but few of these cities have the stock capacity to accommodate many large relocations from London or elsewhere, especially in the short term.

It adds that taking a combination of measures into account, London still stands out as the most attractive European city for the finance sector. ‘We think it will continue to serve as a global finance centre but in partnership with some smaller European cities for passporting functions,’ it points out.

Overall, it adds that there are good reasons to expect further growth in both the economies and real estate markets of many European cities. ‘Often the strength of the city will buck the trend of the country in which it sits so national comparisons are less useful than city comparisons,’ it adds.

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