Thursday 14th July 2011

Expat cost of living

The Mercer 2011 cost of living survey has named Luanda, Angola’s capital as the most expensive city in the world for the second year running.

According to the survey results, which were released this week by HR consultants Mercer International, Tokyo is the second most expensive city in the world, followed by N’Djamena, in Chad.

Discussing the survey results Mercer senior associate Nathalie Constantin-Metral attributed the high living expenses that expatriates faced in African cities to the cost of accommodation, with property prices rising to an all-time high in many areas: "In Luanda, accommodation costs are very, very high," she explained in a press release.

"Availability is limited and most expats are looking for accommodation in secure compounds and prices for accommodation with international standards are high," she added.

How property prices in major cities stack up

This year's Mercer research reported the property prices for a two-bedroom unfinished apartment across a number of major cities as follows:

  • Luanda - $7,000 USD per month
  • New York - $4,300 USD per month
  • Shanghai - $3,345 USD per month
  • Rome - $2,456 USD per month
  • Buenos Aires - $1,800 USD per month

Most expensive cities for expats

  1. Luanda, Angola
  2. Tokyo, Japan
  3. N'Djamena, Chad
  4. Moscow, Russia
  5. Geneva, Switzerland
  6. Osaka, Japan
  7. Zurich, Switzerland
  8. Singapore, Singapore
  9. Hong Kong, China
  10. Sao Paulo, Brazil

Similar to the findings of the Economist Intelligence Unit cost of living survey, Australian cities have entered the top 50 in the Mercer rankings, with this being attributed to the Australian dollar, which has increased by 14% against the US dollar. In this year’s Mercer survey, Australia now has four of the 31 most expensive cities in the world: Sydney jumped 10 places from last year’s survey to take position 14, Melbourne increased 12 places to 21st and Brisbane climbed 24 places to rank 31st. According to Mercer, Canberra is now as expensive as Rome for expatriates.

Other major findings:

  • Singapore overtook Hong Kong in this year’s results with the new rankings placing the cities at positions 8 and 9 respectively.
  • London, which was previously as high as second on the list of past surveys, has dropped to 18th position due to the increasing living costs of other cities around the world.
  • Abu Dhabi, which was placed in position 67th on the global listing, is the most expensive of Middle Eastern cities followed by Dubai (81), Riyadh (135) Manama (157) Kuwait (159) Muscat (184) Jeddah (185).
  • The cost of living in Europe has remained “relatively stable” over the past year when compared with other cities around the world.

The 2011 Mercer cost of living survey covered 214 different cities across five continents. Rankings were calculated by measuring the comparative cost of over 200 different items, which included housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. The results also considered the local currency’s strength when compared with that of the U.S. over the past year: "The US dollar has weakened significantly against some currencies, including the Singapore dollar, the Brazilian real, and the Malaysian ringgit. So the Cost of Living indices for US expatriates will continue to increase to reflect the need to use more US dollars to buy the same number of host currency units," Mercer said in a statement.

Read the full article: http://www.mercer.com/press-releases/1311145

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