Hong Kong now worlds most expensive expat city

Published:  22 Jun at 6 PM
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One of the most important and longest running cost of living surveys has declared Hong Kong to be the most expensive cities in the world for expats.

The 22nd Mercers survey places the Asian expat hotspot at the top of its list of 209 cities as regards cost of living. The aim of the annual study is to help major employers decide on relocation packages, taking into account the average prices of over 200 items from a beer or a coffee to accommodation costs.

Hong Kong’s elevation to the top of the tree isn’t a surprise, as the Asian tiger has always been a costly place in which to live. Unsurprisingly, the most important of the 200 items is housing costs, taking into account that expat accommodations need to be in the right neighbourhood, of international standard, secure and safe.

The African city of Luanda took second place, thus emphasising the high cost of safety and security in expat housing. Kinshasa, capital of the Congo, and N’Djamena came sixth and ninth respectively. An unfurnished house in Luanda would cost £10,600 a month, with the same accommodation in London coming in at £5,000.

The big surprise was the fall of London from 12th to 17th most expensive city, making it now cheaper than New York, Tokyo, Beijing and Zurich. All listed UK cities dropped down the list due to uncertainty over the Brexit referendum and its effect of the value of sterling. Other British examples included Birmingham’s and Glasgow’s fall of 10 and 16 places to 119th and 96th respectively.

New York is used by Mercers as the base for comparisons, with currency movements measured against the US dollar. According to a Mercers spokesperson, currency fluctuations can have huge impacts on overall costs, but other factors such as increases in property prices can counterbalance currency movement impacts.
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