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World World's most expensive cities for expats in 2021 revealed

07:45  22 june  2021
07:45  22 june  2021 Source:   cnn.com

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Hong Kong is no longer the world ' s priciest city for overseas workers, according to the results of Mercer's 2021 Cost of Living survey. Find out which city is the most expensive and why the results have been impacted by the pandemic and other factors. This led to New York City dropping out of the Mercer top 10 altogether, while Paris climbed the rankings from number 50 in 2020 to number 33 in 2021 .

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Ashgabat in Turkmenistan is the most expensive city in the world for overseas workers, according to this year's Mercer Cost of Living Survey.

a group of people walking in front of a building: Supporters arrive at the Turkmenistan national football championship match between Altyn Asyr and Kopetdag on April 19, 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus. - Turkmenistan rebooted its domestic football season on April 19, 2020, with fans returning to stadiums in one of the few countries yet to declare a case of coronavirus. Around 300 people attended a top-of-the table clash between last season's champions Altyn Asyr and league leaders Kopetdag in a 20,000-capacity stadium in the capital Ashgabat. (Photo by Igor SASIN / AFP) (Photo by IGOR SASIN/AFP via Getty Images) © Igor Sasin/AFP/Getty Images Supporters arrive at the Turkmenistan national football championship match between Altyn Asyr and Kopetdag on April 19, 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus. - Turkmenistan rebooted its domestic football season on April 19, 2020, with fans returning to stadiums in one of the few countries yet to declare a case of coronavirus. Around 300 people attended a top-of-the table clash between last season's champions Altyn Asyr and league leaders Kopetdag in a 20,000-capacity stadium in the capital Ashgabat. (Photo by Igor SASIN / AFP) (Photo by IGOR SASIN/AFP via Getty Images)

The annual report ranks 209 cities based on the comparative cost of expenses including housing, transportation, food and entertainment, with New York City used as a baseline comparison.

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The city of skyscrapers had dropped to second place last year behind Luanda, the capital of Angola. But it now heads the Asia-dominated list again, according to the 24th annual cost of living survey carried out by advisory firm Mercer. The survey covers costs ranging from housing and clothes to bread and beer. In this year's rankings, Tokyo is the second most expensive city followed by Zurich and Singapore, with Seoul in fifth. This means that four out of five of the world ' s most expensive cities for expatriates are now in Asia, according to the survey. The top 10 is completed, in order, by Luanda

The Turkmenistan capital, which was number two on last year's list, is something of an outlier in the top 10, which mostly features business hubs like Hong Kong (last year's priciest city and this year's second priciest), Tokyo (number four for 2021), Zurich (number five for 2021) and Singapore (number seven for 2021).

Turkmenistan's ongoing financial crisis, which has led to food shortages and hyperinflation, is cited by Mercer as the reason why Ashgabat's cost of living has risen over the past couple of years.

Perhaps the biggest change from last year's Mercer survey sees Beirut rising from the 45th most expensive city for international workers in 2020 to the third priciest for 2021.

Mercer puts this development down to Lebanon's economic depression, which was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Port of Beirut explosion in August last year.

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Hong Kong is the world ' s most expensive city for expats , leapfrogging Angolan capital Luanda in the annual chart compiled by consultancy firm Mercer. Luanda, which had consistently topped the list in recent years, fell in the ranking owing to the weakening of its local currency. Zurich and Singapore were third and fourth on the list, unchanged from a year ago. Tokyo rose to fifth. The survey is designed for companies to calculate expat workers' allowances. It weighs up the cost of living in 209 cities across the world , comparing the cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transport

Hong Kong has ranked as the most expensive city in the world for expats in ECA' s International' s cost of living report 2020. "Hong Kong is expensive across many areas that we consider as part of our research, but its exceptionally high housing costs pushes it to the number one spot," said Lee Quane, regional director for Asia at ECA International. "This is despite seeing some property prices fall in the last year, in response to a drop in demand due to the pandemic and ongoing political uncertainty," he said.

Meanwhile, as the Euro gained almost 11% against the US dollar, European cities were ranked comparatively more expensive than their US counterparts. This led to New York City dropping out of the Mercer top 10 altogether, while Paris climbed the rankings from number 50 in 2020 to number 33 in 2021.

Similarly, the appreciation of the Australian Dollar saw Aussie cities like Sydney and Melbourne climb up Mercer's ranking.

As for the cheapest cities for overseas workers, Mercer's ranking pinpoints Tbilisi, Georgia (number 207), Lusaka, Zambia (number 208) and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (number 209).

Changing work patterns

Vince Cordova, Mercer's Northeast International Mobility Leader, tells CNN Travel this year's rankings have also been impacted by changing business models in the wake of the pandemic.

Between travel restrictions, the widespread adoption of the work-from-home model and the Covid-19 situation varying from country to country, some companies are opting for international remote hires in lieu of relocating workers to another country.

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The most expensive cities around the globe for expats to live in are revealed in an annual survey. Luanda, the capital of Angola, has regained top spot as the world ' s most expensive city for expats , pushing Hong Kong back into second place. The claim is made in the 23rd annual cost-of-living survey carried out by the advisory firm Mercer. Tokyo, Zurich and Singapore comprise the rest of the top five.

New York most expensive for cleaning supplies. Mercer's data was collected in March, so the full brunt of the coronavirus pandemic's impact on prices aren't reflected in the 2020 rankings, but with grocery prices already soaring in the United States and elsewhere, it's a safe bet that the world ' s Mercer's ranking of 209 global destinations is based on a "basket" of 200 ticket items that reflect the cost of living for expatriates . This year, corona-related products have been singled out by Mercer, with New York City being the most costly place to pick up your cleaning supplies, including antiseptic spray and soap.

"As the types of international assignments change, this is creating changes in the demand for certain goods and services and different consumer profiles," says Cordova.

Cordova also notes the impact of China's "swift but uneven" recovery from Covid-19 on this year's results.

"It's the only major economy to achieve growth in 2020," he says, pointing out this has led to Chinese cities moving up the rankings across the board.

Looking ahead, Cordova suggests the US dollar could "make a comeback" over the next year, which may dictate the shape of future rankings.

2021 cost of living city ranking

1. Ashgabat (Turkmenistan)

2. Hong Kong (China)

3. Beirut (Lebanon)

4. Tokyo (Japan)

5. Zurich (Switzerland)

6. Shanghai (China)

7. Singapore

8. Geneva (Switzerland)

9. Beijing (China)

10. Bern (Switzerland)

World's most expensive cities for expats revealed .
The annual report ranks 209 cities based on the cost of expenses such as housing, transport and food. Mercer said it evaluated more than 200 goods and services for the report, which is designed to help companies and governments around the world determine how much they should pay expatriate employees.Expatriates, or expats, are people who live or work outside their native countries.Most of the cities in Mercer's top 10 are business hubs where economic growth has led to a hike in the price of housing and other living costs.

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