London expensive? Not compared to being an expat in Luanda

Money changing handsIf you are one of the thousands of people from overseas who has come to live and work in London the city can seem expensive, but count your blessings that you have not been posted to Luanda. The Angolan capital is the most expensive place in the world to live as an expatriate, according to an annual study carried out by the HR company Mercer. London comes in at 12th in its cost of living rankings for 207 cities.

The bad news for those settling in London is that the only place in Europe they could have chosen that is more expensive is Switzerland. Zurich, Geneva and Bern all come ahead of London in the rankings.

Mercer measures the cost of 200 goods and services that include housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. Prices are measured against a baseline set by New York and currency movements are measured against the US dollar.

The Angolan capital, Luanda, topped the list for the third year in a row. Mercer says that despite being a generally inexpensive city imported goods that expats would expect are pricey and finding secure living conditions comes at a high cost. It is 1 of 2 African cities in the top 10 that also includes 5 Asian cities and 3 in Europe – all of them Swiss.

Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2015
City Country Continent
1 Luanda Angola Africa
2 Hong Kong China Asia
3 Zurich Switzerland Europe
4 Singapore Singapore Asia
5 Geneva Switzerland Europe
6 Shanghai China Asia
7 Beijing China Asia
8 Seoul South Korea Asia
9 Bern Switzerland Europe
10 N’Djamena Chad Africa
11 Tokyo Japan Asia
12 London United Kingdom Europe

Mercer says that Switzerland proved so expensive due to the strength of the Swiss Franc against the Euro.

London held its position at 12th. The next most expensive European city after London was Oslo at 38 followed by Paris at 46.

Asian cities climbed the rankings. Mercer points out that the high placing of Hong Kong owes much to the fact that the Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the US dollar which drove up the cost of living locally.

The strengthening dollar made US cities more expensive for expats but the highest placed American city is New York at 16.

Source data

See also:

Poor sustainability and high cost public transport mar global cities win

London ranked as top global city destination