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Best Residence-by-Investment Cities for Business Index

A unique new analytical tool to assist international companies, entrepreneurs, and investors make strategic choices about where best to locate their headquarters, executives, employees, and themselves in a pandemic world.

Best Residence-by-Investment Cities for Business Index

Top 10 residence-by-investment cities in each parameter

In this section we take a closer look at the top-performing residence-by-investment cities when it comes to Covid safety, lifestyle, tax, education, real estate, healthcare, security, infrastructure, and stability.

The interactive chart will be of significant interest to anyone considering residence-by-investment programs as a mechanism for business relocation or expansion, as the data provides valuable insights into the top 10 performing cities in each parameter compared to the relevant residence-by-investment program score on the Global Residence Program Index published in Investment Migration Programs 2021. Read more.

Residence-by-investment program

Joint-first in terms of Austria’s and Portugal’s residence-by-investment offerings are Vienna and Lisbon, which both also score highly in security and stability — increasingly important drivers for investment migration and business relocation. Both European cities are popular choices for multinational firms to base their headquarters — Vienna’s appeal lies in its highly skilled labor force and excellent productivity levels, while Lisbon has a flourishing tech sector thanks to Portugal’s business-friendly policies and the top talent emerging from its universities. Rome and Zurich are joint-2nd thanks to Italy and Switzerland’s excellent residence programs, while Athens is 3rd, with the Greece Golden Visa Program an extremely popular option.  

Covid safety

Singapore is the top-ranking residence-by-investment city in terms of Covid safety by a large margin due to the efficiency with which its government has so far dealt with the Covid crisis. In 2nd place is Dubai, closely followed by London. In response to the crisis, both the UAE and the UK governments have taken measures to provide assistance, in particular through comprehensive economic stimulus packages for various stakeholder groups, from workers and people in need, to businesses of all sizes.


The city-state of Singapore also scores highest when it comes to lifestyle, by almost 10 points, on account of its political stability, compliance with the rule of law, democratic participation by the population, and government regulation. Residents benefit from its multi-cultural environment, and strong focus on sustainability. Zurich is in 2nd place, with Sydney not far behind in 3rd place, with both cities offering an extremely high quality of living, enhanced by relatively clean environments and low air pollution.


The top residence-by-investment city in terms of tax is Dubai, with a perfect 100/100 score — not surprising owing to its extremely favorable tax regime, with residents not subject to personal income tax, capital gains taxes, or net worth taxes. In 2nd place is Monaco, whose residents (except for French citizens) are not subject to income tax, capital gains tax, or wealth tax. Hong Kong, another low-tax administration, is in 3rd place.


New York takes the crown when it comes to education, scoring an impressive 100 points owing to its ease of access to over 130 tertiary institutions in New York state — more than any other USA state — among them world-renowned Columbia University, Cornell University, and New York University. London, in 2nd place, also has an impressively high education score due to its proximity to highly sought-after higher education institutions such as Oxford University and the University of Cambridge. Renowned for being another top center for higher education, Los Angeles is in 3rd place.  All three cities offer pools of highly skilled and talented graduates.

Real estate

London is the top-scoring city in terms of real estate by a massive 26 points owing to the great potential of its luxury real estate market, which grew by 10% in the first six months of 2021 compared to the same period last year. New York, in 2nd place, also has a thriving exclusive real estate market, and Sydney, which saw double the sales in the luxury market in early 2021 compared to 2020, is placed 3rd.


Zurich, with its excellent private facilities, tops the rankings in terms of healthcare by almost 7 points. As the Swiss system relies heavily, although not exclusively, on the private sector, Zurich has an extensive network of doctors and well-equipped hospitals and clinics. Waiting lists for treatment are short, patients are free to choose their own doctor and usually have unlimited access to specialists, and accident and emergency rooms are rarely overwhelmed. Sydney is in 2nd place, closely followed by Barcelona. Almost half of Australia’s population opts for private healthcare, as private health insurance comes with many benefits. Barcelona’s healthcare system is of an extremely high standard, so much so that many travel to the city as medical tourists, and the private healthcare sector is constantly evolving to meet their requirements.


Sydney is in 1st place by a very narrow margin, just ahead of Toronto. Both cities are characterized by high-level democratic governance and regulatory management, safe business environments, and their governments pay great attention to cybersecurity and information assurance. In 3rd place is New York, which also takes cybersecurity very seriously, including legal and technical measures to tackle cyber incidents, in addition to organizational efforts. Furthermore, the national cybersecurity strategy is regularly revisited and revised. 


When it comes to infrastructure, Singapore leads the pack by almost 5 points owing to its exceptional digital infrastructure, the extent of its leafy green spaces, its excellent transport links, and cutting-edge urban design and planning. New York narrowly beats London to take 2nd place — both cities offer world-class infrastructure and are important transport hubs, with high transport capacity. 


Most residence-by-investment cities offer a high degree of stability, and there is not much difference between the scores of the top three — Zurich, Dublin, and Auckland. All have high democracy indices, very low levels of corruption, and stable political, social, and economic environments.

Explore the interactive chart and find the best residence-by-investment city for you and your business.

To view additional interactive graphics, please visit DKA’s website.


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