These are the five most expensive cities for expats — and four of them are in Asia

Asia-Pacific Images Studio | iStock | Getty Images

Packing up and moving overseas can be an appealing prospect. But it can be an expensive one, too — especially if you have your heart set on Asia.

That's according to research from consultancy Mercer, which found that Asian cities lead the way among the priciest destinations for employees living abroad.

In its 2018 cost of living survey, the firm found that four of the world's five most expensive cities for expats were in Asia, while just one was in Europe.

The annual survey examined the costs of 200 common expenses, including accommodation, transport, clothes, food, entertainment and gas.

New York City is used as the base city for all comparisons, and currency movements are measured against the U.S. dollar.

U.S. cities did not figure in this year's top ten, however. Aside from Asia, Europe and Africa dominated the list. Switzerland's capital Bern ranked as the tenth most expensive city, followed by Beijing, China (9); N'Djamena, Chad (8); Shanghai, China (7); and Luanda, Angola (6).

Here's the top five:

5. Seoul

Seoul, South Korea.
John W. Banagan | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

South Korea's capital emerged as the fifth most expensive city for expats in this year's ranking. Expect those costs to stack up further if you have a penchant for coffee, though — a cup of joe including service could set you back as much as $10.

4. Singapore

Singapore financial district at dusk
Natthapol Bussai | Getty Images

One of Asia's leading business destinations, Singapore regularly appears on lists of the world's most expensive cities. This year it came fourth in the world and third in Asia, proving especially pricey for items such as jeans and gasoline.

3. Zurich

Allan Baxter | Getty Images

Zurich was the only city outside of Asia to rank in Mercer's top five. Home to one of the world's most significant financial centers, the Swiss city also stakes claim to the priciest hamburger on the planet. Here, you can expect to pay around $14 for your patty and bun, almost double what it would set you back in London.

2. Tokyo

Adam Pretty | Getty Images

Tokyo was the only Japanese city not to fall in this year's ranking, despite a weakening of the yen against the dollar. In fact, it moved up one position from third place last year.

1. Hong Kong

Hong Kong skyline.
Billy H.C. Kwok | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Hong Kong knocked Luanda off the top spot this year to rank as the world's most expensive city for expats. With land in short supply, property prices are high and rising in the small financial hub off the southern tip of mainland China. But you can also expect to pay a premium for day-to-day items like coffee and gasoline.

This cash-strapped entrepreneur is living in one of the world's most expensive cities
make it

Stay in the loop

Sign Up

About Us

Learn More

Follow Us