Tokyo is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates according to Mercer’s latest Cost of Living Survey. Singapore and Zurich share sixth place, up two and one places respectively since 2011 and Hong Kong retains its ninth place. Out of the Top 10 most expensive places to live, Asia holds 50% of the spots and half of the cities names in the top 20 are located in the Asia Pacific region.
The results are:
View the full list here.
According to Mercer, recent world events, including economic and political upheavals, have affected the rankings for many regions through currency fluctuations, inflation, and volatility in accommodation prices.
The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. The cost of housing is also included and, as it is often the biggest expense for expatriates, it plays an important part in determining where cities are ranked.
Compared to New York (ranked 33), the benchmark city in the report, most European cities have witnessed a decline in cost of living (with a few notable exceptions). In Asia, more than six in ten cities moved up in the rankings, including all surveyed cities in Australia, China, Japan and New Zealand. Much of the 'jump' in Australia is related to the strength of the Australian dollar.
At number four in the global ranking, Moscow remains the most expensive city in Europe for expatriates. Geneva follows in fifth position and Zurich in sixth. London is placed 25th.
Most Middle Eastern cities dropped in ranking and slight decreases in expatriate accommodation costs were seen in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Two African cities feature in the top ten with the main reason being limited supply of good, secure accommodation for expatriates and the high cost of imported international goods.
China saw Shanghai at number 16 and Beijing at 17th, both moving into the top 20 for the first time. China has seen an increase in rental costs and goods.
With Sydney (11) and Melbourne (15) rounding out the top 15, Perth, riding the mining boom is hot on their heels at 19th on the list. Strength of the Australian dollar and demand on accommodation are clear factors in 3 Australian cities now appearing in the Top 20.
Of course other factors are important when faced with the opportunity of an International relocation including personal income tax rates, tax free allowances, cost of schooling for children and the career opportunity itself.
Singapore and Hong Kong in particular offer favourable tax rates and ex-pat packages in China are littered with allowances to negate the tax burden.
However the Mercer study shows a clear trend in the rise of cost of living across Asia Pacific, reflecting the relative buoyancy of the region's economy.
For more, please visit: http://www.mercer.com/articles/cost-of-living-2012