Hong Kong tops list of most expensive cities for expatriates

London is the 19th most expensive city

Joanna Whitehead
Tuesday 26 June 2018 08:41 BST
Flights to Hong Kong can include connections at EU hubs
Flights to Hong Kong can include connections at EU hubs

Hong Kong has come top in a survey of the most expensive cities for expatriates.

Mercer’s annual Cost of Living survey includes 209 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Tokyo and Zurich rank as second and third respectively, while London has jumped 10 places in the last year, from 29 to 19, making it one of the world’s 20 most expensive cities for expats. Singapore (4) and Seoul (5) round out the top five, which means that four of the world’s five most expensive cities for expats are now in Asia.

Closer to home, Birmingham (128) has risen 19 places, while Aberdeen (134) has climbed 12 places.

“UK cities’ rise in this year’s ranking is mainly due to a strengthening of the pound against the US dollar,” said Kate Fitzpatrick, Mercer’s global mobility practice leader for the UK and Ireland. “A drop in rental accommodation prices in London held back London’s increase while rental increases in Birmingham and Belfast contributed to the ranking increase of these cities.”

Overall, Western European cities have all become more expensive, a result of strong local currencies against the US dollar and the cost of goods and services, while US cities have dropped due to the declining US dollar.

Despite dropping off the top spot on the global list, Luanda in Angola (6) remains the highest-ranking city in Africa.

Tel Aviv (16) continues to be the most expensive city in the Middle East for expatriates, followed by Dubai (26), Abu Dhabi (40), and Riyadh (45). Cairo (188) remains the least expensive city in the region covered by the survey.

In South America, São Paolo (58) ranked as the costliest city despite dropping 32 places from 2017. Santiago (69) followed as the second most expensive location. The majority of other cities in South America fell in the ranking despite price increases on goods and services in countries such as Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

Mumbai (55) is India’s most expensive city, followed by New Delhi (103) and Chennai (144). Kolkata (182) and Bengaluru (170) are the least expensive Indian cities ranked

10 most expensive cities for expats

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Tokyo
  3. Zurich
  4. Singapore
  5. Seoul
  6. Luanda
  7. Shanghai
  8. Ndjamena
  9. Beijing
  10. Bern

10 cheapest cities for expats

  1. Tashkent
  2. Tunis
  3. Bishkek
  4. Banjul
  5. Karachi
  6. Blantyre
  7. Tbilisi
  8. Minsk
  9. Tegucigalpa
  10. Managua

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