Disparities in the cost of properties in different parts of the world can be considered a commonplace fact of modern economics. Yet a simple comparison of what a given sum of money can procure for you in different cities serves to truly highlight the extent to which real estate markets vary in the modern era, despite rising globalisation and teeming international trade.

One million US dollars, for example, will procure a vast range of different properties, depending solely on the location in which it’s spent. In the most expensive cities in first world nations, a million dollars is unlikely to obtain much more than a modest-sized apartment, albeit in a pleasant and…