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Switzerland remains the most expensive place in the world to build new properties.

Construction costs in Switzerland are more than 25% higher than anywhere else in the world, according to the annual International Construction Cost Comparison Report released by built asset consultancy EC Harris. 

The annual report, which benchmarks the construction costs in 55 countries across the globe using UK prices as a baseline, found that Europe continues to be the most expensive continent in which to build, providing eight of the top ten entrants in the final league table.

According to the report, the price of construction in Switzerland is 71% higher than in the UK where costs are now more than 20% below their peak price in mid-2008. Overall, the UK is now tied with Bahrain as the twelfth most expensive place in the world to build, up four places from 2010 where it finished in sixteenth place. However, this has been largely due to falling costs in other countries rather than rising prices in the UK where construction costs have continued to drop over the last twelve months, with contractors prepared to work for ever slimmer profit margins to try and secure work in an increasingly competitive arena.

Denmark retained its position as the second most expensive place to build, closely followed by its Scandinavian neighbour Sweden. Australia and Canada were the only non-European markets to make it into the top ten although Bahrain just missed out, finishing in twelfth place overall alongside the UK. India and Sri Lanka were tied as the cheapest countries in which to build with construction costs estimated to be 72% cheaper than the UK baseline.

Average construction costs in the US are around 10% lower than in the UK although as the economic recovery progresses these costs are likely to rise. Costs in Canada have dropped since 2010 and are now on a par with the UK.

Mathew Riley, head of cost and commercial at EC Harris, said: “It’s no surprise to see that Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries are the most expensive places to build as high labour costs and the need to import materials are all combining to drive prices up. The interesting element is that we’re now starting to see signs that developing nations are closing this gap as they continue to invest in significant new-build programmes to fuel further GDP growth.”

Ten most expensive countries in the world to build:

1 - Switzerland

2 - Denmark

3 - Sweden

4 - Ireland

5 - France

6 - Australia

7 - Germany

8 - Austria

9 - Belgium

10 - Canada

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