A million dollars might seem like a lot of money to buy a dream house, but in the most expensive locations in the world, like New York, Monaco and London, it won’t get you very far. If you’ve got your sights set on buying luxury property — as in a mansion, not a studio apartment — how much are you willing to compromise in the name of safety and quality of life? Read on to see what kind of home — and trouble — $1 million will get you in the top 10 most dangerous cities in the world, according to the Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice.
10. São Luís, Brazil
- $1 million buys 3,813 square feet
- Cost per square foot: $262.25
Maranhão’s capital is one of four Brazilian cities on this list and is the tenth most-dangerous city in the world. While $1 million might afford you plenty in the way of palatial splendor on the inside, residents need to venture out carefully; 908 murders per 1.4 million people makes São Luís one of the most crime-riddled places on the planet. Per 100,000 people in São Luís every year, 360 people are robbed and about 18 are indecently assaulted, according to The Brazil Business.
9. Cali, Colombia
- $1 million buys 13,831 square feet
- Cost per square foot: $72.30
Cali’s property is relatively affordable, and with good reason: It’s one of the most dangerous, criminally active regions in Latin America. In 2014, Cali had more homicides than San Pedro Sula, Honduras — 1,530 — but a similar murder rate of 65 per 100,000 people due to its larger population of 2.3 million. During the 1990s, then-Mayor Rodrigo Guerrero made strides to decrease the murder rate and stem the drug flow, but since he left office, crime has gone back up, according to The New York Times.
8. Fortaleza, Brazil
- $1 million buys 5,880 square feet
- Cost per square foot: $170.07
The murder rate in Brazil is four times that of the U.S., according to TripAdvisor, and Fortaleza has the highest number of murders in Brazil (2,541 in 2014), though it also has a high population of 3.8 million. In this northeastern Brazilian city, where drug dealing and other crimes are prevalent, TripAdvisor tells its site visitors to, “Present, as best you can, an air of confidence as you travel around Fortaleza. Any signs or intimations of helplessness may draw those who will easily take advantage of you.”
7. Valencia, Venezuela
- $1 million buys 5,685 square feet
- Cost per square foot: $175.91
In Valencia, 90 percent of murders go unpunished, according to The Economist, and last year, there were 1,086 homicides in a population of 1.5 million. Based on those numbers, that means that approximately 977 homicides did not result in prosecutions or convictions. “Venezuela’s spiraling crime problem has a number of underlying causes: They include easy access to illegal weapons, a corrupt and overstretched judicial system, poorly trained and ill-equipped police, and the most violent prison system in the region,” reported The Economist.
6. Maceió, Brazil
- $1 million buys 9,550 square feet
- Cost per square foot: $104.71
A beautiful Brazilian coastline might be appealing to a buyer looking for a seven-figure property investment, but Maceió is plagued by violence, drugs, crime and a disturbing murder rate. Out of the 1 million people living in the Alagoas capital last year, 733 were killed. Crime in Maceió has been linked to a growing crack cocaine industry; however, to downplay this threatening portrait of the city, officials have claimed that many of the murder victims were drug users, not tourists, killed by dealers.
5. Distrito Central, Honduras
- $1 million buys 6,728 square feet
- Cost per square foot: $148.64
Made up of cities Tegucigalpa and Comayaguela, Distrito Central is more expensive than San Pedro Sula, which also made this list, but experiences nearly as much danger. Members of gangs, like the MS-13, rule the streets and schools, reported The Huffington Post, and the homicide rate is shocking: 928 deaths last year in a population of nearly 1.2 million people. In 2011, according to The Huffington Post, there were 20 violent deaths a day, 85 percent of which were caused by shootings.
4. João Pessoa, Brazil
- $1 million buys 8,509 square feet
- Cost per square foot: $117.52
Buying a million-dollar home in a beachfront city with 17th-century colonial architecture might seem like a great value for an expatriate in Brazil, but the deal is offset by the Paraíba capital’s crime and murder rates. Out of 780,738 residents in the city, 620 were murdered last year — 79 homicides per 100,000 people. According to Numbeo, rates of drug dealing, drug use, and violent crimes such as assault and armed robbery remain very high.
3. Acapulco, Mexico
- $1 million buys 10,208 square feet
- Cost per square foot: $97.96
Acapulco’s sandy beaches, all-inclusive resorts and pulsating nightlife used to be enough reason for tourists to visit — and back in the day, it was an exotic, glamorous draw for Old Hollywood’s elite. Given that the city is now one of the most dangerous in the world, however, prices stay relatively low in order to attract new visitors. Last year, Acapulco experienced 883 murders out of a nearly 848,000-person population. Its violent image isn’t helped by a reputation for drug-fueled gang violence or the conspicuous presence of assault-rifle-carrying military police who patrol the streets.
2. Caracas, Venezuela
- $1 million buys 3,300 square feet
- Cost per square foot: $303
At first glance, Caracas might seem like an attractive option for home buyers. In the last few years, a housing program started by late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez bolstered the construction sector, producing more than 260,000 new residences to combat a distressing housing shortage. Unfortunately, the city’s murder rate has surpassed that of Baghdad, according to Vice News. Last year, nearly 3,800 out of 3.2 million people were murdered in Caracas. And nine out of 10 murders in the country go unsolved, according to The Guardian.
1. San Pedro Sula, Honduras
- $1 million buys 14,098 square feet of space in the city center
- Cost per square foot: $70.93
Spacious as a million dollars’ worth of luxury property might be in San Pedro Sula, the second-largest city in Honduras is the murder capital of the world. Last year, there were 1,317 homicides per 769,025 residents, making it the most violent city on the planet for the fourth consecutive year. According to Business Insider, 97 percent of the city’s murders go unsolved. While buying outside the city center comes even cheaper at $45.85 per square foot, it won’t necessarily be safer.
Methodology: The cities included in this list were the top 10 most violent in the world according to a study by the Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice. Square-footage costs were sourced from Numbeo, except where otherwise stated, and were used to calculate the amount of square feet $1 million would buy in each city. Some prices were converted to U.S. dollars using exchange rates from August 6, 2015.