Hong Kong, not surprisingly, has overtaken London's West End as the world's most expensive market to house office workers.
Cost per work station -- that is how DTZ, a 225-year-old London-based real estate research organization measures and ranks markets around the globe.
The annual occupancy cost per workstation in Hong Kong's Central and Admiralty districts surged 31% to $22,330 last year from $17,050 in 2009, the steepest rise in DTZ's survey for 2010. Hong Kong ranked second in the survey in 2009.
DTZ expects the gap between occupancy costs in Hong Kong and other cities to continue to widen. Hong Kong's costs per workstation are forecast to rise to $31,520 by 2015.
DTZ said the soaring costs in Hong Kong were driven by rising prime rents on the back of healthy demand and a shortage of space.
London's West End, which topped the list in 2009, took second place in 2010, with an occupancy cost per workstation of $20,160, up 4% from a year earlier.
Geneva, whose occupancy cost rose 12% last year to $18,840 from $16,870 in 2009, ranked third last year.
In its latest report, DTZ shows other expensive office markets include Tokyo, Sydney and Singapore. Emerging markets such as Bengaluru and Chennai are among the least expensive globally.
The 10 least expensive office locations globally are dominated by tier two cities in mainland China, although many, such as Shenyang, experienced a big increase in occupancy costs during 2010 as a result of extreme competition for a very limited amount of prime space.
The annual survey assessed office space occupancy costs in 121 business districts in 47 countries or territories across the globe, taking into account differences in how prime commercial space is used in each location. The occupancy cost is based on rent, maintenance costs, property taxes, and other factors.
The DTZ report notes Asia Pacific will see the most rapid growth in average occupancy costs globally, with an average annual growth rate of 3.7% to 2015.
Low cost centers in China and India will drive much of this growth in occupancy costs. But, growth in most of these markets is from a low base.
Across global markets, the five markets expected to show the highest increases in costs over the next five years are all in Asia Pacific: Bengaluru, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing and Chennai