25 most expensive cities for expats, according to HR firm Mercer

25 most expensive cities for expats, according to HR firm Mercer
Singapore is the 5th most expensive city for expats to live in. Luanda, Hong Kong, and Tokyo took top three on the list.
PHOTO: Pixabay

Ever wondered how much bang you would get for your buck if you upped sticks and moved to the other side of the world?

An annual cost of living survey from human resources firm Mercer takes a look at which cities are the most expensive for the expat community and just how far your money will get you.

25. Sydney, Australia

Photo: Pixabay

Sydney often ranks among the most expensive cities in the world, coming in at 25th out of a total of 209.

Beating both Melbourne and Brisbane, you can expect to pay $100.68 for a pair of jeans.

24. Los Angeles, US

Photo: Pixabay

The third most expensive US city to appear in this year's list, life in L.A. requires a pay packet of almost celebrity proportions.

Rental of a two bedroom unfurnished flat could set you back $4,040.

23. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Photo: Pixabay

The capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi has undergone serious growth and investment over recent years and, as such, there is a price tag to match as expats look to enjoy its glamorous attractions.

22. San Francisco, US

Photo: Pixabay

Life in San Francisco is expensive.

With its proximity to the coast and California's wine regions, it unsurprisingly ranks among the top 10 per cent of the 200+ countries studied in Mercer's annual list.

21. Osaka, Japan

Photo: Pixabay

Osaka is one of Japan's thriving commercial centres and continues to offer an appealing - if expensive - home for expats.

20. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Photo: Pixabay

Dubai, renowned for its modern architecture and brilliant beaches, is a top destination for expats looking to combine business opportunities with varied attractions.

19. Guangzhou, China

Photo: Pixabay

Guangzhou, a port city in the northwest of Hong Kong is the cheapest of five major cities in China - though it remains within the world's 20 most expensive.

18. Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Photo: AFP

Life in the politically troubled Democratic Republic of the Congo is hard.

For expats wanting to move there, it is costly too, with security a considerable expense.

17. Tel Aviv, Israel

Photo: Pixabay

Israel's Tel Aviv is the Middle East's most expensive country for expats, having jumped two spots since last year.

16. N'Djamena, Chad

Photo: AFP

Life in N'Dhjamena, Chad, is expensive for expats, where average incomes are low and access to Western goods are limited and expensive.

15. Victoria, Seychelles

Photo: Wikipedia

Victoria, the Seychelles' capital, has remained consistently expensive over recent years, rising just two places since 2016.

14. Moscow, Russia

Photo: Pixabay


Moscow, renowned for its elaborate architecture, is Russia's most expensive city.

Here, a two bedroom unfurnished apartment will cost you $4,4249, though 1 kilogram of white sliced toast is among the cheapest in the ranking, at $3.38.

13. Shenzhen, China

Photo: Pixabay

Shenzen, situated next to the border of Hong Kong, has held fairly steady as one of China's priciest cities, though it dropped down one space this year to be replaced by Tianjin.

12. Tianjin, China

Photo: Pixabay

Tianjin, a major port city in northeastern China, has grown significantly over the past year and so too have living costs.

In 2016, it ranked in 30th place.

11. Beijing, China

Photo: Pixabay

China's capital Beijing slipped from 10th place this year, though you can still expect to pay $6.62 for a coffee.

10. Bern, Switzerland

Photo: Pixabay

Emerging as one of the world's 10 most expensive cities this year is Switzerland's Bern.

9. New York City, US

Photo: Pixabay

New York is the US's most expensive city and, this year, one of the 10 most expensive in the world. Expect to pay $5,058 per month to rent an unfurnished two bedroom flat.

8. Shanghai, China

Photo: Pixabay

Shanghai, along with other Chinese cities, slipped in the rankings this year as the yuan weakened against the US dollar.

7. Geneva, Switzerland

Photo: Pixabay

Geneva is the second most expensive Swiss city and one of the world's 10 most expensive.

6. Seoul, South Korea

Photo: Pixabay

Seoul, South Korea's capital, has raced through the ranks this year to become the sixth most expensive city for expats. In 2016, it was in just 15th place.

5. Singapore

Photo: Pixabay

Prices in Singapore appear to have fallen slightly this year relative to other countries. It drops down from fourth place in 2016 to fifth in 2017.

4. Zurich, Switzerland

Photo: Pixabay

Zurich, a global centre for banking and finance, is the most-costly city in Europe and fourth most pricey in the world.

3. Tokyo, Japan

Photo: Pixabay

Japan's capital rose from fifth to third place this year as the value of the yen has continued to appreciate.

2. Hong Kong

Photo: Pixabay

Hong Kong regularly emerges as the most expensive city in Asia - and indeed the world - though it was pipped to the top spot this year.

Its currency is pegged to the US dollar, which continues to drive up the cost of housing and amenities.

Expect to pay around $7.88 for a cup of coffee.

1. Luanda, Angola

Photo: Pixabay

Luanda, Angola's port capital situated on the west coast of southern Africa, usurped Hong Kong's leading position this year to become the world's most expensive city.

But it is often cited as one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Having battled through a long civil war, which destroyed much of the country's infrastructure, Angola only gained independence relatively recently, in 2002, and has since struggled to reestablish its position as a major exporter.

As a result, around half the country live in poverty while the more affluent citizens pay inflated prices for imported goods and security.

Expats can expect to be set back $6,065.67 per month to rent a two bedroom unfurnished apartment of international standards.

More about

expats richest
Purchase this article for republication.



Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.