The 3 Most Expensive Places for Expats to Live -

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The 3 Most Expensive Places for Expats to Live

Hong KongWhere are the most expensive places for expats to live? Right now you might be thinking about the price of real estate in New York City, or public transport in the UK. Perhaps one of the Scandinavian countries with their impressive salaries – but also extreme levels of taxation?

If so, you might be surprised by the 2015 Cost of Living Rankings, produced by global expat compensation experts Mercer.

Their comprehensive study aims to take as complete a view as possible of the costs of buying standard products and services around the world. Those items covered include housing, transportation, clothing and entertainment. In all, over 200 different figures are calculated for each specific location studied, providing an overall cost of living around the world.

Such a study can prove highly beneficial for expats. Using the data produced by Mercer, expats considering a move will be armed with all the necessary information on how expensive their new homeland is likely to be.

Furthermore, this data can be of assistance when negotiating expat packages, in order to ensure that your remuneration is fair and just, allowing you a reasonable quality of life without concerns over the cost of living.

Arguably best of all the data provided by Mercer is based on actual statistical research, as opposed to guesswork, allowing expats to make real-world decisions based on accurate data.

So, with that said, the obvious question is where is it most expensive for expats to live?


It might surprise you to learn that the single most expensive expat location uncovered this year is in Africa; indeed Luanda is the capital city of Angola. While the city enjoys much of the mod cons you would expect from any major urban hub, the costs of housing suitable for expats can be extortionate. Right now, the study found that a one bedroom apartment can cost in excess of $3,000 a month; just imagine the costs involved with taking your family abroad with you.

Hong Kong

Perhaps rather less surprising is the second most expensive expat destination; Hong Kong. With such a high density of people, not to mention the very limited agricultural land present in Hong Kong, most items – such as food and consumer goods – need to be imported. This significantly increases their retail price. Add to this the competition present in the real estate market and few people should be surprised by this ranking.


Switzerland has long been known as an expensive country in which to live. Whilst it typically ranks highly in terms of lifestyle and job satisfaction for expats, taxes are high in order to pay for the impressively clean and reliable public services. Zurich, as the largest city in Switzerland, takes this to a whole new level thanks to the price of property.

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