Europe News

The world's most expensive city is …

Jessica Hartogs, Special to
The world's most expensive city may surprise you
The world's most expensive city may surprise you

When one thinks of the world's most expensive cities, images of New York and London probably pop to mind. But those two do not even make the list of the 10 most expensive cities in which to live. Instead, it's dominated by Asian and African cities, as well as two Swiss ones — Zurich and Geneva — according to Mercer's annual 2016 Cost of Living Rankings.

Published Wednesday, the guide surveys 209 countries where employers are most likely to send their expatriates to live and work. Hong Kong remains the world's most expensive city, where the average monthly rent of a unfurnished two-bedroom apartment of "international standards in an appropriate neighborhood" costs $6,809.47. Second place may surprise you — rent in Luanda, Angola, will cost you $6,700 a month.

According to the World Economic Forum, "Luanda may not be the most expensive city in the world for the local population, but thanks to a booming oil economy, a limited supply of luxurious housing, and a high demand for it among expats, the cost of living there is higher than any city in the world." It noted that the cost of an apartment in Luanda for an Angolan household may well be only $200 a month.

Compare Luanda's $6,700 a month with Sydney, where a similar apartment would cost $2,636.39, or Vancouver, where monthly rent for a two-bedroom is approximately $1,737.80. Move to London or New York, and you'll see average two-bedroom rents of $4,583.25 and $5,1000, respectively.

Should you decide to go see a movie in any of these cities, London is by far the most expensive — a ticket will set you back $17.91. Go to the movies in Johannesburg, and you'll only have to fork out a little over $4.

Fancy sitting down for a cup of coffee? You'll pay almost $8 in Hong Kong but only $2.28 in New York. And if you're driving to get that cup of coffee, 1 liter of unleaded gasoline will cost you around the $1 range in most cities — although you'll pay $1.79 in Hong Kong versus 48 cents in Moscow.

Top 10 most expensive cities to live in:

1. Hong Kong

2. Luanda, Angola

3. Zurich

4. Singapore

5. Tokyo

6. Kinshasa, Congo

7. Shanghai


9. N'Djamena, Chad

10. Beijing

Bottom 10 least expensive cities to live in:

1. Lusaka, Zambia

2. Garborone, Botswana

3. Karachi, Pakistan

4. Tunis

5. Minsk, Belarus

6. Johannesburg

7. Blantyre, Malawi

8. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

9. Cape Town

10. Windhoek, Namibia

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.