London cheaper option for expats in global cost of living rankings

Credit card payment-2Living in London as an expat has become a more attractive choice on the basis of the cost of living in 375 global cities.

London has moved down from 12th to be 17th most expensive city to live and work as an expatriate in the annual rankings by HR and consulting company Mercer.  But it is still the most expensive city in Europe with the exception of those in Switzerland – Zurich, Geneva and Bern are higher up the cost league.

Other UK cities have also become comparatively cheaper.  Aberdeen has move down to 85 from 82 last year and Birmingham is 96th in 2016 compared to 80th in 2015.  Mercer say that the strength of the pound against the dollar in the past 12 months has been a factor as dollars are used as the base currency for calculations.

The most expensive city in the world for an expat is Hong Kong, according to Mercer research. Last year’s most expensive city, Luanda, drops to second place.  Five of the top ten are Asian cities, three of them in China.

Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2016 – 10 most expensive
City Country Continent
1 Hong Kong China Asia
2 Luanda Angola Africa
3 Zurich Switzerland Europe
4 Singapore Singapore Asia
5 Tokyo Japan Asia
6 Kinshasa Dem Republic of Congo Africa
7 Shanghai China Asia
8 Geneva Switzerland Europe
9 N’Djamena Chad Africa
10 Beijing China Asia

In Europe, apart from the Swiss cities and London, the only cities in the top 50 globally are  Copenhagen, Paris and Dublin.

Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2016 – Europe’s most expensive
City Country
Zurich Switzerland
Geneva Switzerland
Bern Switzerland
London UK
Copenhagen Denmark
Paris France
Milan Italy
Vienna Austria
Rome Italy
Oslo Norway

The survey looks at the cost of 200 items in each city including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.  The cost of housing helped push Hong Kong to the top of the rankings, but London comes out as expensive for a number of everyday purchases.

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Source data

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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