Asian and European cities – particularly Hong Kong (2), Tokyo (3), Zurich (4), and Singapore (5) – top the list of most expensive cities for expatriates, according to Mercer’s 2017 Cost of Living Survey.
The costliest city, driven by cost of goods and security, is Luanda (1), the capital of Angola. Other cities appearing in the top 10 of Mercer’s costliest cities for expatriates are Seoul (6), Geneva (7), Shanghai (8), New York City (9), and Bern (10).
The world’s least expensive cities for expatriates, according to Mercer’s survey, are Tunis (209), Bishkek (208), and Skopje (206).
Five of the top 10 cities in this year’s ranking are in Asia. Hong Kong (2), which dropped from the top spot, is the most expensive city in Asia as a result of its currency pegged to the US dollar, which drove up the cost of accommodations locally.
This global financial center is followed by Tokyo (3), Singapore (5), Seoul (6), and Shanghai (8).
Top choices for relocation
“Although a number of Asian cities remain amongst the world’s most expensive cities, key financial hubs such as Hong Kong and Singapore still continue to attract talent and remain a top choice for relocation,” says Mario Ferraro, Global Mobility Leader for Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA), Mercer.
“Although this year’s movements were due mainly to currency fluctuations, in particular against the US dollar, we did see cities – such as Mumbai – move up the ranks due to their strengthening economy and growing opportunities.”
Nathalie Constantin-Métral, Principal at Mercer with responsibility for compiling the survey ranking said, “The majority of Chinese cities fell in the ranking due to the weakening of the Chinese yuan against the US dollar. And, the strengthening of the Japanese yen along with the high costs of expatriate consumer goods and a dynamic housing market pushed Japanese cities up in the ranking.”
India’s most expensive city, Mumbai (57), climbed twenty-five places in the ranking due to its rapid economic growth, inflation on the goods and services basket and a stable currency against the US Dollar.
This most populous city in India is followed by New Delhi (99) and Chennai (135) which rose in the ranking by thirty-one and twenty-three spots, respectively. Bengaluru (166) and Kolkata (184), the least expensive Indian cities, climbed in the ranking as well.
Elsewhere in Asia, Bangkok (67) jumped seven places from last year. Jakarta (88) and Hanoi (100) also rose in the ranking, up five and six places, respectively. Karachi (201) and Bishkek (208) remain the region’s least expensive cities for expatriates.
Australian cities have all experienced further jumps up the global ranking since last year due to the strengthening of the Australian dollar. Sydney (25), Australia’s most expensive city for expatriates, gained seventeen places in the ranking along with Melbourne (46) and Perth (50) which went up twenty-five and nineteen spots, respectively.