The world’s most expensive and cheapest cities to live as an expat

Hong Kong life.
Hong Kong life.
Image: Reuters/Bobby Yip
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The most expensive to city to live in the world as an expat is Hong Kong, according to one of the most comprehensive surveys of its kind.

The 24th annual Cost of Living Survey by Mercer, the world’s largest human-resources consultancy firm, ranked 209 cities where companies are most likely to send employees on international corporate assignments. The survey is designed to help multinational companies and governments calculate compensation for expat staff.

It looked at the cost of living and rental-price comparisons from a survey conducted in March. Mercer used New York as the base city for all comparison, with currency movements are measured against the US dollar. On the cost of living, Mercer looked at prices of more than 200 items, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

Housing was one of the key things that pushed Hong Kong to the top. Monthly rent for a three-bedroom unfurnished house of international standards in an appropriate neighborhood costs $13,424 on average. In New York, it would cost $5,700, and $6,991 in London.

The cheapest city in the world for expats is Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Everything from food and accommodation to renting in an expensive neighborhood remains incredibly cost-effective.