Brexit sees UK cities ‘tumble’ down global cost-of-living list; Tokyo now No.1

London has fallen 57 places, to the 103rd spot, in a global cost-of-living ranking focused on expatriates carried out annually by ECA International, which attributed the dramatic fall to the UK’s decision to leave the EU and the consequent effects on its currency.

ECA, an international human resources consultancy, noted that it was the first time Central London had not featured in its top 100 since started its Cost of Living rankings in 2004.

“One year ago, [London] was among the top 50 most expensive cities,” the company’s researchers noted, in a summary of their findings.

“[Now it is no longer even in the] top 100.”

eca-intl-cost-of-living-comparisons-2016-updateAlthough the ECA report doesn’t mention the cost of London property in its report, it is worth noting that its cost-of-living research doesn’t take into account certain living costs, such as accommodation rental,  as well as utilities, car purchases and school fees, which the expatriate packages of its consultancy clients usually cover separately. And London property, as anyone who has bought or rented accommodation there recently knows only too well, has become famously pricey in recent years, owing to its appeal among investors, particularly in certain parts of the world, as an “asset class”.

ECA International production manager Steven Kilfedder told International Investment that the cost of property is explored in other research carried out by the company, and added that, even if London property is expensive relative to other places, the significantly weaker pound means that is  still “cheaper for those paying for it in euros” than was the case a year ago.

And property prices aside, “London is now cheaper than Paris, Berlin and Brussels, thanks to the weak pound,” he added.

Tokyo, meanwhile, has retaken the global No. 1 spot for the first time since 2012 – it was just twelfth last year – as other Japanese cities also moved back into the global Top 10 rankings; Moscow jumped 46 places and Hong Kong slid two places, to 11th.

Zurich, which topped the last last year, is now in third place, though still the most expensive place in Europe for expats to be posted.

Other UK locations also became cheaper, relative to the rest of the world, in terms of cost of living, the ECA data shows, to the extent that the UK posted “the third largest decline in the world” over the past year, behind Nigeria and Mozambique.

Edinburgh, for example, tumbled to 151st place globally, down from 67 last year, while Cardiff is now 162nd, and Belfast has dropped a dizzying 73 places to 169th.

ECA International has been conducting research into the cost of living around the world for more than 40 years, in an effort to help companies ensure their pay packages reflect the cost of living in the cities to which they send their employees. The research is based on a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by individuals in more than 450 locations worldwide, excluding, as mentioned above, certain costs. The company carries out its surveys in March and September.

eca-international-top-20-dec-2016 Source: ECA International

To read more about the ECA International survey on the company’s website, click here. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Burggraf
Helen Burggraf is the editor of International Investment. A US-trained journalist, she has worked in Rome, New York City and London, covering everything from the fashion and retailing industries to the global drinking water and water-treatment sector, private equity, and most recently, the international cross-border financial services/advice industry.

Read more from Helen Burggraf

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