Affordable Big City Pads Around the World

For lots of people, the pull of big city life is strong.

They’re drawn by the plethora of arts and culture, fine dining…the feeling of being in the center of the action and on the cutting edge. And they draw energy from the frenetic pace of a major metropolis.

Due to high demand for housing, real estate in large cities can be quite pricey, especially if you don’t want to be consigned to a closet-sized place. But you can still find affordable apartments in or near the city center, where you can easily walk or take public transport anywhere you need to go.

The properties below could be full-time residences or perhaps just a pied-à-terre you can enjoy part of the year…and rent out when you’re not there.

Mexico City, Mexico
Listing Price: 1,950,000 Mexican pesos ($97,875)

There’s no doubt about it, Mexico City is a certified megalopolis. Home to nearly 22 million people in the greater metro area, covering 3,000 square miles…its scale is colossal.

But the secret to navigating Mexico City, or CDMX as it’s been branded (its name is Ciudad de Mexico in Spanish), is to focus on the neighborhoods like the centro historico, Roma, La Condesa, Polanco, and others.

There you’ll find world-class museums, pedestrian-friendly avenues lined with shade trees and Art Nouveau and Art Deco architecture, a variety of restaurants, high-end shopping malls, hip cafes, gourmet markets…

This two-bedroom apartment—new construction—features a rooftop deck for building residents, as well as concierge service. It’s located in the Miguel Hidalgo neighborhood, which is known for its museums and a park larger than Manhattan’s Central Park. It’s also close to the artsy area of Roma and the shopping and fine dining in Polanco.

Budapest, Hungary
Listing Price: 35,900,000 Hungarian forints ($119,176)

Founded by the Celts, expanded by the Romans into a major city, and ruled for more than a century by the Ottomans…before becoming part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and then falling under strict Soviet influence post World War II…Hungary, and its capital Budapest, has had its share of masters. And each brought their own culture, cuisine, architecture, and other influences.

Today, Budapest is a vibrant modern city with much of the historic quarter designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO. A notable attraction are the dozen thermal springs to be found within the city’s boundaries, which some say have healing properties.

This one-bedroom apartment is in the 10th district, which is in the midst of revitalization. The apartment itself was recently renovated and later give a once-over by an interior decorator—it comes fully furnished. It’s close to supermarkets and other shops, as well as a large park.

Rome, Italy
Listing Price: €119,000 ($142,585)

Founded by brothers Romulus and Remus, Rome has been around for millennia. The capital of the mighty Roman empire. Today, the capital of Italy. Here you are living in history. Every time they dig—say for a subway tunnel or foundations for a building—they seem to hit some forgotten ruin and work must stop. That makes new development difficult.

But there are still affordable apartments in the Eternal City. This two-bedroom apartment, modernized in 2014, is in an outlying neighborhood with more of a suburban feel. But you can easily get into the heart of town on public transport.

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