Asian cities dominate list of world’s most expensive cities

Mercer’s latest Cost of Living Survey has found that eight out of the top ten of the world’s most expensive cities for expatriates are Asian cities.

The survey reveals that Asian cities dominate the upper echelons of the rankings due to high costs for expatriate consumer goods and dynamic housing markets.

Hong Kong was named the world’s most expensive city for the second consecutive year, followed by Tokyo, Singapore and Seoul. Zurich was the highest ranked non-Asian city, in fifth place, while New York was the only city from outside the continent to be ranked in the top ten (ninth).

Numerous cities in the United States climbed in the ranking due to the strength of the US dollar against other major currencies as well as the significant drop of cities in other regions. In addition to New York jumping four places to rank 9, San Francisco (16) and Los Angeles (18) climbed twelve and seventeen places, respectively, while Chicago (37) jumped fourteen places.

Cities in Western Europe, including Milan (45), Paris (47), Oslo (61), and Madrid (82), fell in the rankings, by twelve, thirteen, fourteen, and eighteen spots, respectively. The German city Stuttgart (126) dropped significantly as did Berlin (81) and Dusseldorf (92). Cities in the United Kingdom saw modest drops, including Birmingham (135), which fell seven places, Belfast (158) six spots, and London (23) four spots.

“Despite moderate price increases in most of the European cities, European currencies have weakened against the US dollar, which pushed most cities down in the ranking,” explained Yvonne Traber, Global Mobility Product Solutions Leader at Mercer., “Additionally, other factors like recent security issues and concern about the economic outlook, have impacted the region.”

Australian cities have continued to fall in the ranking due to the depreciation of the local currency against the US Dollar. Sydney (50), Australia’s most expensive ranked city for expatriates, dropped twenty-one places. Melbourne (79) and Perth (87) dropped twenty-one and twenty-six spots, respectively.

Article published 27th June 2019