Expat Rent Prices – Worldwide City Ranking 2015


Published in march 2015


• London Centre: still the costliest place in the world for expat rents.
• Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York and Luanda make up the top 5 of the ranking.
• Moscow, second last year is now only sixth.
• Euro zone cities are no longer in the world's top 20!

EuroCost International publishes its new worldwide ranking of rents paid by expats.
Although expat housing conditions can vary a lot from one country to another, EuroCost International publishes a yearly worldwide ranking based on a specific type of housing. This time, we have considered 2- and 3-bedroom flats (average prices converted in euros, reference date January 2015).


Cities where rents are paid in US dollars progress, unlike those where they are paid in euros

The top cities of our 2015 expat rent ranking are different from last year; in particular, Moscow is no longer in the top 5.
Another major change: the depreciation of the euro has lead to a general decrease of all locations where expats pay in euros.

Top 20 ranking of rents paid by expats 2015
1 London United Kingdom (1)
2 Hong Kong China (4)
3 Tokyo Japan (3)
4 New York, NY United States (5)
5 Luanda Angola (8)
6 Moscow Russia (2)
7 Singapore Singapore (6)
8 Geneva Switzerland (7)
9 Beirut Lebanon (10)
10 San Francisco, CA United States (15)
11 Juba South Sudan (9)
12 Zurich Switzerland (13)
13 Shanghai China (12)
14 Sydney Australia (11)
15 Mumbai India (17)
16 Washington, DC United States (19)
17 Doha Qatar (23)
18 Seoul South Korea (18)
19 Beijing China (20)
20 Osaka Japan (16)

The most expensive cities in the world

Renting a 2- or 3-bedroom flat can result particularly expensive for an expat.
It is still in London Centre that rents are the most expensive for this type of housing. Not only rents are incredibly high (over 5500 euros for a 2-bedroom flat), but they go on increasing!
Many expats can no longer afford the centre and therefore opt for the Greater London where prices are more reasonable.

Although rents have remained stable in local currency, Hong Kong has moved up from 4th to 2nd place because of the revaluation of the Hong Kong dollar.

Tokyo keeps its bronze medal in spite of the depreciation of the yen against the US dollar, but it has been overtaken by Hong Kong as Asia's most expensive location.

Although rent prices no longer increase in New York, the US city has gained one place, helped by the dollar strengthening and Moscow's fall down.

Luanda has risen three places and is now 5th. Angola's capital confirms its status of the most expensive city in Africa. The US dollar revaluation has helped Luanda's rise since expat rents are usually paid in this currency.

Moscow loses four places because expat rent prices (expressed in USD's or in euros) have strongly decreased in 2014, due to the economic and political situation in Russia. For the first time in more than five years, Moscow is not in the world top 5.

Singapore and Geneva are regular in this top 20. This year, they are respectively 7th and 8th.
Geneva benefits from the Swiss National Bank's decision to lift the minimum exchange rate of CHF 1.20 per euro.

Beirut is 9th this year, from 10th last year. San Francisco enters the top 10 for the first time. The American city gains 5 places not only because of the US dollar revaluation, but also as a result of strong rent price increases.

The second half of the top 20 is once again characterized by an overwhelming presence of the Asia-Oceania region (six cities!): Shanghai (13th), Sydney (14th), Mumbai (15th), Seoul (18th), Beijing (19th) and Osaka (20th).

Those cities are however behind Juba (11th) and Zurich (12th).
With strongly decreasing rent prices, Juba is no longer in the top 10 that it had entered in 2014. On the other hand, Zurich benefits from the fluctuations of the Swiss franc exchange rate that reinforce the regular price increases reported for several years. Zurich has thus gained four places in three years.

Washington confirms its place in the top 20 that it has joined last year: it is now 16th.

For the first time, Doha enters the world top 20, helped by the evolution of its currency, which is tied to the US dollar.

Paris is no longer present in the top 20. As the most expensive city in the euro zone, the French capital was 14th last year and it has fallen 8 places to only rank 22nd this year. All cities in the euro zone have gone down the ranking.


This region is the world champion with 9 cities in the top 20. Tokyo that had lost its status as the world's most expensive city last year goes on declining: this year it loses its status as the region's most expensive place. Hong Kong is indeed number one !

Top 10 Asia-Oceania:
1. Hong Kong
2. Tokyo
3. Singapore
4. Shanghai
5. Sydney
6. Mumbai
7. Seoul
8. Beijing
9. Osaka
10. Jakarta


Europe is now only represented by 4 cities in the world top 20.
The European ranking is very similar to last year: London is still the most expensive place in Europe and Moscow remains 2nd for the time being, in spite of strong decreases in rent prices (expressed in US dollars or in euros). As last year, those two cities are followed by Geneva, Zurich and Paris.

Expat rent prices are currently strongly decreasing in Kiev. The Ukrainian capital has lost eighteen places in the world ranking, but still appears in the European ranking thanks to the strengthening of the dollar (currency in which most expats pay their rents).

European Top 10:
1. London
2. Moscow
3. Geneva
4. Zurich
5. Paris
6. Amsterdam
7. Kiev
8. Copenhagen
9. The Hague
10. Oslo


Although the American continent is only represented by three cities in the world's top 20, the revaluation of the US dollar has generated a rise for all cities where expats pay their rent in USD.

US cities progress in the ranking and, this year, they occupy the first four places of the continent's ranking: New York, San Francisco, Washington and Los Angeles.
Boston and Chicago are still present in the regional top 10 and both improve their ranking.

Brazilian cities are handicapped by the depreciation of the real against the dollar; consequently, they lose places in the ranking in spite of strong increases in rent prices.

As last year, Mexico and Bogota make up the Americas top 10. Housing prices remain high for expats, particularly for security reasons.

Americas Top 10:
1. New York
2. San Francisco
3. Washington
4. Los Angeles
5. Sao Paulo
6. Rio
7. Boston
8. Mexico
9. Chicago
10. Bogota


As previously, African cities are rare in the ranking.
Indeed, in numerous African locations, expat rather live in houses; that is why those cities do not appear in this flat ranking. In many places such housing costs are high for expats.

Luanda remains the most expensive city in Africa.
It is still followed by Juba, where expat rent prices have however strongly decreased (Juba is no longer one of the world's 10 most expensive cities as it was in 2014).

Lagos and Kinshasa are respectively 3rd and 4th; rent prices are stable in both places, but they are paid in US dollars.

As last year, Pointe-Noire (Congo) makes up the African top 5. Expat housing there is costlier than in the country's capital, Brazzaville.

African Top 5:
1. Luanda
2. Juba
3. Lagos
4. Kinshasa
5. Pointe-Noire

Maputo (Mozambique) has surged 42 places in the world's ranking and might soon enter the African top 5. It is one of the strongest rises this year.

Middle East

Middle East is now home to two of the world's top 20 most expensive cities: Beirut and Doha.

Two other cities are now very close: Dubai (21st) and Abu Dhabi (27th).
Both cities have well progressed; Dubai experienced the strongest rise (from 38th in 2014 to 21st in 2015). 

Expat rents have also strongly increased in Riyadh, 5th in this part of the world.

Middle East Top 5:
1. Beirut
2. Doha
3. Dubai
4. Abu Dhabi
5. Riyadh

Specific expat surveys

EuroCost International data reflects the local rental market for expats and therefore differs from the local rental market in terms of price level as well as evolution. Areas selected for our surveys are the residential areas frequented by expats.
We collect prices for different types of housing, from studios to large detached houses, but these can be adapted to the specificity of each country. In a country where all expats live in houses, our survey will only report house prices.
All dwellings considered range from good to very good quality to ensure that expats benefit from comfortable living conditions.
Prices are collected in the currency used for the payment of the rent (very often USD’s or in euros rather than in local currency).
Housing is a crucial element for an expatriation; therefore many companies seriously consider their expats’ living conditions. Our rent surveys are usually provided separately from the cost of living index to fully meet the needs of our customers, but rent prices can be included in our indices.


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