Hong Kong is the most expensive city for expats: Mercer

Pedro Gonçalves
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Soaring rents make Hong Kong the costliest city to live in for expatriates among 209 cities worldwide. The relative bargain when it comes to burgers and movie tickets is not enough to balance the high accommodation costs, according to a study from Mercer.

The city of skyscrapers had dropped to second place last year behind Luanda, Angola’s capital. Tokyo is the second most expensive city followed by Zurich and Singapore, with Seoul in fifth. This means that four of the world’s five most expensive cities for expats are now in Asia.

Soaring rental costs are the major reason Hong Kong outpaces other cities when it comes to the expatriate lifestyle. A two-bedroom flat of international standard goes for $7,671 per month in Hong Kong, compared with $5,700 in New York and $5,100 in Luanda.

Even a coffee is among the most expensive in the world. At $7.74 for a cup, it outpaces Luanda at $3.34 and London at $3.92. The only city with more expensive coffee is Seoul, at $10. A litre of milk goes for US$3.78, double the price of London, Dubai and Paris.

However, Hong Kong is one of the cheapest cities to get a burger. A fast food burger meal will run you $4.83, compared with $6.30 in Tokyo, $8.19 in Sydney and $12.87 in Luanda. A movie ticket will set you back $14.71, which is cheaper than London, at $23.48.

Mercer’s annual survey rates prices on rental accommodation, meals, and entertainment among a measure of 200 daily necessities in comparing the living cost for expatriates in cities worldwide.

The world’s least expensive city for expats is Tashkent (Uzbekistan), sitting in 209th place in the Mercer list, below Tunis (Tunisia) and Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan).

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