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Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive city for expats

An increasing amount of people are choosing to move abroad for work, but the destination can dramatically change the cost of living. So, which cities should you avoid if you’re looking for cheap living?

New research by Mercer has declared Hong Kong the most expensive city in the world for working expats in 2019, for the second year running.

Asia continues to dominate the rankings of the priciest locations for expats with eight of the top 10 most costly cities being in Asian countries.

After comparing more than 209 cities around the world Mercer published both the most expensive and the cheapest cities for expats to live in. The top 10 priciest were revealed as follows:

1: Hong Kong

2: Tokyo, Japan

3: Singapore

4: Seoul, South Korea

5: Zurich, Switzerland

6: Shanghai, China

7: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

8: Beijing, China

9: New York, USA

10: Shenzhen, China

The annual Cost of Living Survey carried out by the human resource consulting firm Mercer analyses the cost of more than 200 items to determine the rankings. Items such as food, clothing, alcohol and housing are just a few that are considered.

Hong Kong’s strong housing market combined with its currency fluctuations is what held the city at number one this year. There’s still a big demand for accommodation that is suitable for expats, in their desired locations to a standard that they require. This high demand and short supply is said to be the underlying reason why Hong Kong remains at the top of the rankings.

The average rent on a two-bedroom apartment in Hong Kong was measured at around $10k which was by far the most expensive with New York coming in second with an average rent of about $6k. Hong Kong also scored more points for having the most expensive petrol and the most expensive Espresso.

Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan made an appearance in the top ten this year and made a significant leap from its position of 43 in 2018. The study blames a shortage of currency and imported goods for its price inflation.

At the other end of the spectrum was Tunis in Tunisia which was ranked as the cheapest city in the world for expatriates to live followed closely by Tashkent, Uzbekistan and Karachi, Pakistan. Also, Moscow took an impressive price slide and fell from its 2018 spot of the 17th most expensive city to 67th in 2019 due to a collapse in the currency.

In other news, according to the report, UK cities have got a little bit cheaper as London has dropped four places and now sits in 23rd.  It remains the UK’s most expensive city with Birmingham, Aberdeen and Glasgow offering much more reasonable living. The strengthening of the US dollar against the pound is the suspected reason for this change but still shows that the UK is an attractive destination for businesses to relocate employees, even with the Brexit negotiations.

Still interested in moving to Hong Kong? Find out more about the city and its healthcare.

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