Asia dominates list of expensive expat destinations

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Many of the world’s most popular expat cities are also the most expensive, with Hong Kong taking the top spot according to the annual Cost of Living Survey published by international consultancy firm Mercer.

By Allianz Worldwide Care | July 15, 2016

Allianz Care - Many of the world’s most popular expat cities are also the most expensive, with Hong Kong taking the top spot according to the annual Cost of Living Survey published by international consultancy firm Mercer.

Hong Kong’s extremely high rent was instrumental in driving the city to the top of the list as the most expensive city for expats. Renting a two-bedroom unfurnished apartment in a well-located part of Hong Kong costs more than $6,809 a month, Mercer found, far ahead of New York at $5,100, London at $4,583 and Singapore at $3,129.


Five of the 10 most expensive cities for expats are in Asia.

“Many Asian cities remain amongst the world’s most expensive places to deploy expatriates,” said Mario Ferraro of Mercer. “However, this has not hindered companies from relocating talent here, as the region continues to offer growth potential and the demand for top talent remains high.”

Luanda, the capital of Angola, was placed second most expensive in the survey, followed by Zurich, Singapore and Tokyo.

Kinshasa ranked sixth, with Shanghai, Geneva, N'Djamena and Beijing completing the top 10.

“For globally mobile expats, cost of living is naturally a concern. Access to healthcare is a top priority for expats and their families when they are abroad; people need the reassurance that no matter where they are in the world, they will be able to access quality medical care when the need arises.” said Susan Landers, Head of Market Management at Allianz Worldwide Care.

“Over the years, we have seen consistent growth in demand from individuals and corporates for comprehensive international medical insurance. Our plans come with a range of add-ons, so individuals and companies can choose the options that suit their needs and budget.”

Top ten most expensive cities for expats
  1. Hong Kong
  2. Luanda
  3. Zurich
  4. Singapore
  5. Tokyo
  6. Kinshasa
  7. Shanghai
  8. Geneva
  9. N’Djamena
  10. Beijing

According to the survey, the world's least expensive cities for expats are Windhoek in Namibia, Cape Town, and Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.

Now in its 22nd year, the Mercer Cost of Living Survey covers 209 cities across five continents and is designed to help major employers work out living costs for their expatriate workers by looking at the price of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing and entertainment.

Source: Mercer

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