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Expat Rent Prices – Worldwide City Ranking 2012
EuroCost International specializes in cost of living services for expatriates in over 250 locations worldwide.
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 December 2011).
2012 expat ranking: several trends confirmed and a few surprises.
- - Tokyo, Hong Kong and London remain the 3 most expensive cities in 2012.
- - Paris is the only city from the euro zone in the world top 20.
- - Luanda is only 9th, down from 4th in 2011, followed by Juba (South Sudan capital), last in top 10.
Mumbai is no longer in the top 10: it is only 11th due to the devaluation of the Indian currency.
For the reverse reason, American cities have climbed the ranking due to the revaluation of the US dollar against most currencies: New York is 5th, up from 7th, and San Francisco is 17th, up from 21st.
|2||CHINA (HONG KONG)||Hong Kong||(2)|
|3||UNITED KINGDOM||London Center||(3)|
|5||UNITED STATES||New York||(7)|
|17||UNITED STATES||San Francisco||(21)|
1. The most expensive cities in the world
Even if the ranking has changed in 2012, 18 cities out of the top 20 were already in the 2011 top 20. New entries are Juba and San Francisco.
Tokyo remains the most expensive city in the world in 2012. Even if rent prices have decreased in yen terms, the strength of the yen makes them increase in euro terms.
Hong Kong and London remain in the same position as last year. Rent prices have strongly increased in those two cities, partly due to a soaring demand facing an insufficient offer.
Moscow remains in fourth place and New York in fifth position; in both cities, prices continue to increase.
Singapore (6th) and Osaka (7th) benefit from the strength of their respective currencies; in Singapore, prices have significantly increased.
Beirut has risen 2 places in the ranking to 8th position. Despise the bad economic and security situation of the country, the building sector is currently booming.
Two African cities make up the rest of the 10 most expensive cities.
Luanda is down 5 places to 9th position as a result of the substantial price decreases in 2011. Luanda however remains the most expensive place to rent accommodation in Africa, followed by Juba, the capital of the new South Sudan.
Expats' housing conditions are currently exceptional in Juba. The political crisis that has led to independence is not yet over and the new capital city does not offer all necessary infrastructures for the numerous expats flocking in Juba. The housing supply is much too low to meet the demand and accommodation rented to expats is usually extremely expensive for a disappointing quality.
2. From 11th to 20th position
Mumbai (11th) is down five places from last year. Expat rental prices have remained steady and the Indian rupee has devaluated against the euro.
Sydney ranks 12th due to increasing rent prices and to a strong Australian dollar. For the same reasons, Canberra jumps one position to rank 18th.
Geneva and Zurich rank 13th and 16th respectively. Those two Swiss cities benefit from the current strength of the Swiss franc.
In Shanghai (14th), the demand for good quality housing is stronger and stronger from the numerous expats working for multinationals.
Paris (15th) is the only eurozone city in the world top 20.
San Francisco, ranking 17th, is the second US city after New York.
In Rio (19th), the most expensive Brazilian city, expat rent prices are always higher.
Kiev is the last city of the top 20, down 3 places. The expat rental market is not yet back to its 2008 level.
3. Significant geographic differences
Cities from Asia or Oceania are more and more numerous in the top places of our ranking. Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore and Osaka belong to the top 10, but Mumbai, Sydney, Shanghai and Canberra belong to the following 10. Asia and Oceania are home to 9 of the world's top 20 locations and this perfectly reflects the current world economic situation.
Europe is well represented in the top 20 with London that remains the most expensive European city, before Moscow, Geneva, Zurich and Kiev.
The American continent is a bit less represented in the ranking. New York tops the ranking for American cities with a 5th place, but San Francisco is only 17th, Rio 19th, Washington 21st and Sao Paulo 25th.
In many African countries, expats favour villas rather than apartments; that is why some countries do not appear in this 2-3 bedroom apartment ranking. Luanda however remains the most expensive African city, followed by Juba where housing conditions are difficult for many expats. Those two cities are followed by Kinshasa, 22nd, Lagos, 30th, and Pointe Noire, 36th.
The only Middle East city in the top 20 is Beirut, 8th. The second most expensive city in the region is Abu Dhabi, 29th, down from 12th in 2010 and 20th in 2011. Next cities are far behind: Riyadh, 50th, Dubai, 55th, and Tel Aviv, 66th.
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.