$8 Coffee! 10 Costliest Cities for Expats

The life of an expat can often seem glamorous with the appeal of living abroad in a different culture, but it has its downsides, too. Mainly, how much it can cost to live.

Consulting firm Mercer released the initial findings from its 21st annual cost-of-living survey, which compares data from 207 cities over five continents and is based on answers and exchange rates from March. The survey measures costs of more than 200 items in such categories as housing, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Topping this year’s list of the priciest places to live are the following 10 Asian, European, and African cities, determined using New York City as the base city for comparison.

“Japanese cities have continued to drop in the ranking this year as a result of the Japanese yen weakening against the US dollar,” said Nathalie Constantin-Metral, a principal at Mercer who worked on compiling the survey ranking. “However, Chinese cities jumped in the ranking due to the strengthening of the Chinese yuan along with the high costs of expatriate consumer goods.”

Note: For each of the following cities, the apartment and house rental costs given are per month, and they are specified to be residences “of international standards, in an appropriate neighborhood.” Other prices given refer to purchases at medium-priced establishments.

10. N’DJAMENA, CHAD

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: n/a
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $2,252.12
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $2.60
  • Fast food hamburger meal*: $21.65

Ranked as the second costliest city in 2014, this year the capital city of Chad is number 10. For this city, there was no data available for the price of an international release cinema ticket, a fast food meal or a pair of jeans.

*In absence of comparable fast food meals in N’Djamena, the cost of a club sandwich and soda meal was included.

9. BERN, SWITZERLAND

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $2,463.73
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: n/a
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $4.82
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $13.93

Switzerland’s fourth most populous city is also the federal city, being home to the Swiss parliament and government. One seat at an international release movie in Bern costs $19.28.

8. SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $3,494.86
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $6,808.16
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $6.17
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $5.90

The capital and largest city in South Korea, Seoul, is the first of five Asian cities in this list. It ranked 14th place last year.

7. BEIJING

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $3,576.54
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $5,283.52
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $7.32
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $4.71

The capital of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing is one of the most populous cities in the world and the center of most of the country’s largest state-owned companies. Beijing was number 11 in 2014.

6. SHANGHAI

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $4,064.24
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $6,502.79
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $6.50
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $4.71

Shanghai has China’s highest urban population. One liter of soda costs just 81 cents, but that doesn’t offset those rents.

5. GENEVA

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $3,749.15
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $6,212.88
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $4.82
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $13.93

Switzerland’s second most populous city bumped up from sixth priciest city in 2014’s ranking. Many international organizations have offices there, including the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

4. SINGAPORE

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $3,246.75
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $6,936.25
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $4.35
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $6.20

Retaining its 2014 spot as the fourth priciest, Southeast Asia’s Singapore is the site of the fourth largest financial center and one of the globe’s top shipping ports.

3. ZURICH, SWITZERLAND

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $3,963.39
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $5,891.52
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $6.96
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $13.93

Marking Switzerland’s third appearance in the costliest list for 2015, Zurich is a major financial center and the largest Swiss city. It ranked fifth last year.

2. HONG KONG

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $6,576.26
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $11.863.06
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $7.80
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $4.75

This densely populated special administrative region on China’s southern coast is a trade hub and one of the world’s top financial centers. It will run expats $3.95 for a liter of pasteurized whole milk (above 2.5 percent milk fat) in the special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China.

1. LUANDA, ANGOLA

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $6,800
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $15.800
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $4.76
  • Fast food hamburger meal*: $17.14

Topping out the list for the third year straight is Luanda, a relatively inexpensive place by some measures–the cost to see an international release film is $11.90, and one liter of soda is $1.99. However, what’s driving up the cost of living is the prices of imported goods—a pair of blue jeans runs $247.53—and the cost of living in safe conditions.

*In absence of comparable fast food meals in Luanda, the cost of a club sandwich and soda meal was included.

Written by Colleen Kane of CNBC

(Source: CNBC)

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