According to the Cost of Living 2015 report authored by Mercer, Asian and European cities – Hong Kong (2nd), Zurich (3rd), Singapore (4th) and Geneva (5th) – dominate the rankings of the most expensive cities for expats. However, Angola’s capital Luanda tops the rankings for the third consecutive year. Although this city is not perceived as being expensive, imported goods, safety and comfort conditions for expats are available at high prices.
Other cities that made it into the top 10 are: Shanghai (6th), Beijing (7th) and Seoul (8th) in Asia, Bern (9th) in Europe and N’Djamena (10th) in Africa.
The cheapest cities for expats are Bishkek (207th), the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Windhoek (206th), the capital of Namibia, and Karachi (205th), the capital of Pakistan.
As a result of the weakening of local currencies against the US Dollar, most cities in Central and Eastern Europe also dropped in the rankings. Prague dropped 50 places and is 142nd, Budapest dropped 35 places and is 170th and Minsk dropped 9 places and is 200th, despite the fact that rents remained unchanged in these cities. Bucharest is in a similar situation, dropping from 169th place last year to 178th this year. Sofia and Belgrade follow the same trend, being 187th and 196th respectively and continuing to be cheaper than Bucharest. Warsaw dropped from 142nd place in 2014 to 175th this year.
The report covers 207 cities on five continents and comparatively measures the costs of over 200 products and services in each of them, including the cost of transport, housing, food, clothing, home appliances and entertainment.