Cities Are More Similar Than Countries

Real Estate Agent with Manhattan Miami Real Estate 40ME1055359

You can travel a thousand miles to another big city, and feel more at home there than someone from a rural part of that country, coming to the city for the first time. When you get beyond the language, big cities are the same in many ways. There is a certain ebb and flow. For an investor to buy real estate in Manhattan, the transition from Hong Kong or Singapore for their families can actually be more fluid and familiar than for a family moving to the Big Apple from upstate New York.


What’s selling in upstate New York? For less than a million dollars you can own a nine-bedroom 9,040 mansion with six full and four half baths. It’s on 43 acres of land overlooking Cayuga Lake. However, even for the well-heeled owners of such a property, a move to the city would feel cramped and confined. 


If buying real estate in Manhattan, that $975,000 would afford a small one-bedroom condo of less than 700 square feet. The difference between the lush rural landscape and the prestigious address would be lost on a small-town investor. It’s nine times smaller and without a single acre. However, the centrally located Manhattan address is of excellent value to a luxury real estate investor from a large city like London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei or Sao Paulo. They understand the value of location and prestige. 


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There are many differences the big city would bring: Transportation, business styles, crowds, and a bombardment of activity. It can be overwhelming for those not acquainted with major centers. 


Those from other cosmopolitan metropolises such as London, Hong Kong, or Sao Paulo, transplanting to life in Manhattan is actually much easier. When you get over the language barrier (and many investors speak fluent English), there are a plethora of similarities, which help to ease in the transition.


Big cities have no shortage of things to do. They’re busy, and noisy. There is rarely silence on the streets of Manhattan. It is full of a hustle and energy, similar to the bustling carts, wild markets, and lurching vehicles of Shanghai. There is familiarity in noise. One can grow to love it. Even Pete Campbell from Mad Men claimed that he wanted to move back from the country, which he compared to a graveyard, and into the city, because he missed the noise of the traffic from his high-rise. It was something that made him feel at home.


The crowds are another one. If you are from Hong Kong, one of the densest places on earth, Manhattan feels spacious. A large, moving throng of people is comforting to those born and raised in glass towers. But if you are from a smaller town or upstate, the crowds can be intimidating, and strangely isolating.



If you come from a small town, you might not have a feel for how business is done in a big city. There is a hustle and bustle, an art to wining and dining, finding the best martini bars in the city, and exuding the right cut of wealth in your clothes and mannerisms. These are big city attributes. Those coming from a city of power know how to act, how to dress, and how to succeed in the concrete jungle. Something that smaller town folk never get the chance to learn. It is a way to be and live amongst their own kind. 


For those buying real estate in Manhattan, but are worried about the culture shock their spouses and children will face moving to another country, be rest assured. Manhattan is more like Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, London, Tokyo and Singapore than other cities in the same state. Manhattan is an international city, with a cosmopolitan code, the kind only found in the world’s biggest and most bustling places. Your family will feel more at home than most Americans ever would.



At Manhattan Miami Real Estate we specialize in helping International and domestic buyers locate and purchase exactly the homes they want, and do it at the right price. Whether you are looking for an investment property, primary home, an apartment for your child who is going off to Columbia or NYU, or looking to trade your investment property in NYC, we are here to help. 


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Comments (4)

Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Good morning, Ricardo - this perspective/observation makes a lot of sense. In real estate. And elsewhere too. Thank you for the post.

Dec 21, 2018 05:35 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Ricardo. I think you premise is on the money. I guess it depends on what you know and what you like.

Dec 21, 2018 05:59 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Best wishes to you and your family for a Very Merry Christmas!

Dec 24, 2018 07:10 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Ricardo, been in Manhattan with another AR member, and saw a two bedroom overlooking the park, it was very expensive! 

Dec 26, 2018 06:15 AM
Ricardo Mello

I bet it was 

Feb 12, 2020 08:03 PM