Hong Kong remains the most expensive location for expats to rent

Press Releases   •   Mar 14, 2019 10:35 GMT

  • Hong Kong is the most expensive place in the world for expatriate rental accommodation, with average monthly costs of USD 10 929
  • New York in second place with an average monthly rent of USD 10 101
  • Tokyo third in the rankings, London fourth
  • Big rises in rent across the Eurozone - with Lisbon and Madrid both jumping 45 places in rankings, and Dublin rent increases by USD 880.

Hong Kong remains the most expensive location in the world for expatriate rent, with typical expat accommodation averaging USD 10 929 per month. This was one of the findings of the latest research published by ECA International, the world's leading provider of knowledge, information and software for the management and assignment of employees around the world.

Rental prices for an unfurnished, mid-market, three-bedroom apartment in areas commonly inhabited by international executives in Hong Kong average USD 10 929 per month – an increase of 4.9% from last year.

“Rents increased across Hong Kong during 2018 with limited availability of suitable accommodation, a long-term issue for the Hong Kong housing market, being the main driver” said Alec Smith, Accommodation Services Manager at ECA International. “Rent increases are not just limited to central Hong Kong anymore either, with rents expected to rise throughout outlying neighbourhoods in 2019 too, as international firms seek more affordable office space and try to take advantage of cheaper suburbs.”

ECA International has been conducting research into accommodation costs for international executives for more than 20 years to help companies provide the right housing options as part of the overall compensation package for mobile employees. The research compares rental costs in accommodation in areas typically inhabited by expatriate staff in over 320 locations worldwide.

New York retains second spot despite rents dropping

New York remains the second most expensive city in the world for overseas workers to rent in, and by far the most expensive location in the Americas, with USD 10 101 being the average expat rental cost. However, rents have dropped by over USD 250 since last year, as demand dropped slightly.

Smith explained “2018 saw the market delivery of a large number of newly constructed rental properties. This eased issues with low vacancy rates that normally apply in New York, leading to some modest decreases in average rents.”

Rents in Tokyo continue to increase

Rental costs in Tokyo rose by an even greater rate than Hong Kong, with typical expat accommodation now costing USD 8 668 per month on average. This is a rise of 6.9% and means that Tokyo is the third most expensive location in ECA’s survey.

Smith said “While the Tokyo rental market has historically always been tight, 2018 saw a significant upturn in the rate of rent increases. An increase in tourism in recent years and the accompanying increase in landlords preferring to lease out accommodation on a short-term basis has contributed to rising costs in recent years. With both the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympics being hosted in Tokyo, we have seen a major surge in business interest in Japan's capital. All of these factors will contribute to increasingly limited availability of suitable rental accommodation in Tokyo, with rent increases are expected to continue into 2019.”

London continues as the most expensive European location for overseas workers to rent

Rent in London is the most expensive in Europe for expats, averaging USD 7 189 per month. However rental costs decreased in central London (zone one) this year, whilst rent in outer London remained stable.

“A polarisation of rent changes was observed between properties in central and outer London since the previous year. Rents fell in prime neighbourhoods in London travel zone one, with salaries for top jobs largely stagnant and demand waning. Rents in outer London were more stable, but are anticipated to increase with London property purchases growing ever more out of the reach of many Londoners,” explained Smith.

Rents rise across the Eurozone

Rental costs across Europe rose significantly through 2018, due in part to the strength of the Euro. Dublin saw the biggest rises in expatriate rental costs in Europe with a rise of USD 880 in just one year but other major cities such as Madrid, Rome, Paris and Barcelona all saw increases over USD 500.

In Spain, Madrid saw the average expatriate rent rise by USD 650 to USD 2828 (€2299), whilst in Barcelona rent increased by USD 566 to USD 2521 (€2049).

Smith said “The past 10 years have seen a significant turnaround in the fortunes of Dublin’s residential rental market. The global financial crisis exposed a property bubble in the Irish capital and rents have increased significantly with each subsequent year of recovery. Meanwhile, Madrid and Barcelona have reversed years of falling rents that followed in the wake of the global financial crisis. Their markets are flooded with renters, both from the local young professional population, and international assignees.”

Meanwhile in Paris, as the city continues to target attracting business due to Brexit, demand remains strong for property in the French capital and expatriate rent has risen to USD 4090 (€3324), an increase of over USD 700.

Mixed fortunes for Australian cities

There were contrasting trends for the Australian cities in the rankings as Sydney and Melbourne continued to rise, but Perth plummeted to 168th overall – a fall of 131 places since 2012.

Smith said “Melbourne has experienced steady growth in rents over recent years, with recent price rises pushed upwards by the city's increasing population. In contrast, Perth's rental market has been subject to a sustained decrease in rental costs over the last few years, owing primarily to the downturn in its mining, oil and gas sectors. Future prospects for the city's economy appear more optimistic though - with recent upturns in other industry sectors - and rents are expected to stabilise in coming years.”

Bursa, Turkey is cheapest city for expats

At the bottom of the rankings it is the new addition Bursa which takes the spot of the cheapest location for overseas workers to rent in. The Turkish city has average rental costs of just USD 560 per month. 

Top ten most expensive cities for expat rent (global)

Location 2019 ranking 2018 ranking
Hong Kong 1 1
New York, USA 2 2
Tokyo, Japan 3 3
London, UK 4 5
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea 5 4
San Francisco, USA 6 6
Luanda, Angola 7 7
Shanghai, China 8 8
Seoul, Korea Republic 9 11
Buenos Aires, Argentina 10 12

-ENDS-


Notes to Editors

Figures used in this release were taken from ECA's September 2018 Accommodation Survey.

The survey was based on the average rental prices for an unfurnished, three-bedroom apartment in the mid-range of the expatriate market.

ECA International's housing data

This ranking is based on data from ECA's accommodation reports, which have been published annually since 1996.

The reports provide comprehensive and reliable information for locations worldwide on the rental trends, types of accommodation and districts commonly sought by expatriates. To ensure impartiality and to maintain the accuracy of information, data from a number of sources is used to compile each accommodation report. ECA uses a global network of estate agents, relocation agents and extensive in-house research into worldwide property markets to establish and verify the housing data in the reports. Rental prices are collected annually. This housing data is also fed into ECA's Accommodation Tool which can be used to set, manage and review the right accommodation allowances for international assignees.

The rental prices were collected in September 2018 and have been converted into US dollars for ease of comparison using the September 2018 exchange rate.

About ECA International

ECA International is the market-leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

Partnering with thousands of clients on every continent, we provide a fully-integrated suite of quality data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.

We make the complex world of international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support they need to make the right decisions - every time.

ECA International: Mobility solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.

About ECA International (www.eca-international.com)

ECA International is the market leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

Partnering with thousands of clients on every continent, we provide a fully integrated suite of quality data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.

We make the complex world of international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support they need to make the right decisions - every time.

ECA International: Mobility solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.

- Hong Kong is the most expensive place in the world for expatriate rental accommodation, with average monthly costs of USD 10 929 - New York in second place with an average monthly rent of USD 10 101 - Tokyo third in the rankings, London fourth - Big rises in rent across the Eurozone - with Lisbon and Madrid both jumping 45 places in rankings, and Dublin rent increases by USD 880.

Read more »

Dublin enters the top ten most liveable cities for Europeans

Press Releases   •   Feb 13, 2019 11:26 GMT

  • Dublin re-enters the top 10 most liveable cities in the world thanks to improved infrastructure, personal safety and healthcare in recent years
  • The Irish capital is now on par with northern European cities, Gothenburg and Luxembourg, offering superior living conditions
  • Dublin is 23rd most liveable location for Asian expats – beating many Asian cities including Hong Kong
  • Canada remains most liveable non-European country for Europeans

Dublin has re-entered the top ten most liveable cities, becoming one of the most attractive cities in Europe for European expats. Cities around the world are evaluated annually by ECA International (ECA) on a variety of liveability factors including availability of health services; housing and utilities; isolation; access to a social network and leisure facilities; infrastructure; climate; personal safety; political tensions and air quality. 

ECA’s annual Location Ratings survey has followed Dublin’s steady rise in recent years as liveability in Ireland’s capital started to become one of the most desirable in Europe, and indeed, the world. This year Dublin re-entered the top ten in joint ninth place with Gothenburg and Luxembourg, offering the most superior living conditions for European expats. Dublin also came in at 23rd place for Asians expats, beating many Asian locations including Hong Kong, which is 41st.

“Dublin has seen a return to the top ten after dropping out in 2017 due to a shortage of suitable housing for expatriates in the city. However, our research reveals a general opinion from the expat community that they feel safer in Dublin after dark, which has improved the city’s personal security score this year,” said Neil Ashman, Senior Location Ratings Analyst at ECA International, global mobility experts.

“Dublin has a strong international expat community, which is why it also scores well for Asian expats versus cities such as Hong Kong that suffered disruption and considerable damage caused by Typhoon Mangkhut in September,” explained Ashman.

ECA's Location Ratings system objectively evaluates a host of factors to form an assessment of the overall quality of living in over 480 locations worldwide. The system helps companies establish appropriate allowances to compensate employees for the adjustment required when going on international assignment. The impact of some of the factors assessed will vary according to the home location of the assignee.

Northern European cities continue to dominate the top of the rankings

Alongside Dublin, cities in northern European and Scandinavian nations once again dominate the top of the liveability rankings. Copenhagen in Denmark and Bern in Switzerland offer the best liveability standards for European expats, scoring at the top of ECA’s ranking for over seven years. Alongside Dublin, cities in northern European and Scandinavian nations once again dominate the top ten most liveable locations for European expats. The Netherlands and Switzerland each have three cities within the top ten.

Ashman said: “Cities in Scandinavia, Switzerland and the Netherlands have offered good liveability across the board for many years now; with factors such as excellent infrastructure, reliable transport systems, and a high level of healthcare all contributing to their consistently excellent liveability score.”

Canada most attractive country outside Europe for Europeans

The most liveable non-European location for European expats is Toronto, Canada. Canadian cities in general all score very well, with Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal all scoring higher than Belfast, London and Glasgow in the UK.

“Canadian cities have always featured high up in the rankings for European expatriates thanks to low crime levels, good public facilities, and little air pollution. The only anomaly to this was in 2017 when Montreal briefly dropped in the rankings following severe flooding. The city has since recovered well since the floods and risen five places in the latest survey, essentially returning to its original position,” explained Ashman.

Australia and New Zealand also score highly for European expats

Canberra and Wellington also offer high liveability standards for Europeans, making 40th and 45th place respectively; higher than some UK cities. All of the Australian and New Zealand locations included in the rankings feature in the top 100.

Ashman said: “Despite the long travel distances from Europe, which impacts the external isolation score for Europeans away from home, it is no surprise to see the majority of these cities in the top 50. Cities in Australia and New Zealand have always scored well, with low crime, efficient transport services and a range of available housing just some of the attractions.”

Singapore top Asian city for European expats

Singapore is the most liveable Asian location for European expatriates and the only one that makes it into the top 100.

Ashman said: “Asian cities tend not to feature so highly for European expats due to significant differences in climate and language. However, a number of factors make Singapore the most liveable Asian location for European expats including the large European expat communities already living in Singapore - something which makes it a lot easier for expats to adapt and suitably acclimatise to their new surroundings.”

Top 20 most liveable locations for European expatriates

Location 2019 ranking 2018 ranking
Copenhagen, Denmark 1 =1
Bern, Switzerland 1 =1
The Hague, Netherlands 3 3
Geneva, Switzerland 3 =4
Stavanger, Norway 5 =4
Amsterdam, Netherlands 6 =6
Eindhoven, Netherlands 6 =6
Basel, Switzerland 6 =6
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg 9 =9
Gothenburg, Sweden 9 =9
Dublin, Irish Republic 9 =11
Aarhus, Denmark 12 =11
Rotterdam, Netherlands 12 =11
Zurich, Switzerland 14 14
Bonn, Germany 15 =15
Munich, Germany 15 =15
Vienna, Austria 17 =17
Hamburg, Germany 17 =17
Stockholm, Sweden 19 =19
Edinburgh, United Kingdom 19 =19

-ENDS-


About ECA’s Location Ratings

Updated annually, ECA International's Location Ratings system measures the quality of expatriate living conditions in over 480 locations around the world to arrive at a fair and consistent assessment of the level of difficulty the expatriate will experience in adapting to a new location. Factors evaluated include climate; availability of health services; housing and utilities; isolation; access to a social network and leisure facilities; infrastructure; personal safety; political tensions and air quality.

About ECA International (www.eca-international.com)

ECA International is the market leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

Partnering with thousands of clients on every continent, we provide a fully integrated suite of quality data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.

We make the complex world of international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support they need to make the right decisions - every time.

ECA International: Mobility solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.

Dublin re-enters the top 10 most liveable cities in the world thanks to improved personal safety in 2018.

Read more »

Edinburgh remains most liveable UK city for European expats

Press Releases   •   Feb 13, 2019 10:07 GMT

  • Edinburgh is the only UK city in the top 20 most liveable cities in the world for European expats, closely followed by Aberdeen at 21
  • The Netherlands, Switzerland and Scandinavia continue to be the most attractive places for European expats, with superior liveability scores
  • Dublin enters the top 10 most liveable cities and sits in joint 9th place
  • Toronto, Canada remains the most liveable non-European destination for European expats

Scottish cities lead the way in the liveability rankings this year, with Edinburgh featuring in the top 20 global locations for European expats, and Aberdeen just behind. Cities around the world are evaluated annually by ECA International (ECA) on a variety of liveability factors including availability of health services; housing and utilities; isolation; access to a social network and leisure facilities; infrastructure; climate; personal safety; political tensions and air quality.

“Edinburgh and Aberdeen lead the way for UK cities in terms of liveability due to a range of factors including lower air pollution and a greater level of personal security,” said Neil Ashman, Senior Location Ratings Analyst at ECA International, global mobility experts. “However, what really makes these two cities outshine others in the UK is the existing expat community. This is an important factor in the liveability analysis as a solid network of expatriates will help newcomers feel less isolated and reduces the anticipated culture shock for workers that relocate from overseas.”

Despite a troubling couple of years, London is holding steady in the top 50 most liveable locations for European expats in 49th place. Glasgow is the only UK city with a lower ranking than London, coming in at 57th place in the liveability ranking.

“Although London has continued to see higher air pollution and crime levels in the past year, the city’s overall liveability score has remained steady, in part due to the improved availability of expatriate-standard housing,” said Ashman.

“It is understandable that smaller cities such as Edinburgh, Manchester and Belfast score better in areas that will always pose a challenge for a city as big as London, such air quality and personal security. This is a trend we see repeated throughout the world. For instance, Berlin is the lowest ranked of the seven German cities in our rankings, and Paris is fourth out of the five French cities in our list.”

ECA's Location Ratings system objectively evaluates a host of factors to form an assessment of the overall quality of living in over 480 locations worldwide. The system helps companies establish appropriate allowances to compensate employees for the adjustment required when going on international assignment. The impact of some of the factors assessed will vary according to the home location of the assignee.

Dublin enters the top ten most liveable cities

Elsewhere, Dublin has re-entered the top ten locations in the world for European workers for the first time since 2016. Sitting in joint 9th, the Irish capital is now on par with Gothenburg and Luxembourg as having among the most superior living conditions for European expats.

“Dublin has seen a return to the top ten after dropping out in 2017 due to a shortage of suitable housing for expatriates in the city. However our research reveals a general opinion from the expat community that they feel safer in Dublin after dark, which has improved the city’s personal security score this year,” Ashman explained.

Northern European cities continue to dominate the top of the rankings

Copenhagen in Denmark and Bern in Switzerland offer the best liveability standards for European expats, scoring at the top of ECA’s ranking for over seven years. Alongside Dublin, cities in northern European and Scandinavian nations once again dominate the top ten most liveable locations for European expats. The Netherlands and Switzerland each have three cities within the top ten.

Ashman said: “Cities in Scandinavia, Switzerland and the Netherlands have offered good liveability across the board for many years now; with factors such as excellent infrastructure, reliable transport systems, and a high level of healthcare all contributing to their consistently excellent liveability score.”

Canada most attractive country outside Europe for Europeans

The most liveable non-European location for European expats is Toronto, Canada. Canadian cities in general all score very well, with Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal all scoring higher than Belfast, London and Glasgow in the UK.

“Canadian cities have always featured high up in the rankings for European expatriates thanks to low crime levels, good public facilities, and little air pollution. The only anomaly to this was in 2017 when Montreal briefly dropped in the rankings following severe flooding. The city has since recovered well since the floods and risen five places in the latest survey, essentially returning to its original position,” explained Ashman.

Australia and New Zealand also score highly for European expats

Canberra and Wellington also offer high liveability standards for Europeans, making 40th and 45th place respectively; higher than some UK cities. All of the Australian and New Zealand locations included in the rankings feature in the top 100.

Ashman said: “Despite the long travel distances from Europe, which impacts the external isolation score for Europeans away from home, it is no surprise to see the majority of these cities in the top 50. Cities in Australia and New Zealand have always scored well, with low crime, efficient transport services and a range of available housing just some of the attractions.”

Singapore top Asian city for European expats

Singapore is the most liveable Asian location for European expatriates and the only one that makes it into the top 100.

Ashman said: “Asian cities tend not to feature so highly for European expats due to significant differences in climate and language. However, a number of factors make Singapore the most liveable Asian location for European expats including the large European expat communities already living in Singapore - something which makes it a lot easier for expats to adapt and suitably acclimatise to their new surroundings.”

Top 20 most liveable locations for European expatriates

Location 2019 ranking 2018 ranking
Copenhagen, Denmark 1 =1
Bern, Switzerland 1 =1
The Hague, Netherlands 3 3
Geneva, Switzerland 3 =4
Stavanger, Norway 5 =4
Amsterdam, Netherlands 6 =6
Eindhoven, Netherlands 6 =6
Basel, Switzerland 6 =6
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg 9 =9
Gothenburg, Sweden 9 =9
Dublin, Irish Republic 9 =11
Aarhus, Denmark 12 =11
Rotterdam, Netherlands 12 =11
Zurich, Switzerland 14 14
Bonn, Germany 15 =15
Munich, Germany 15 =15
Vienna, Austria 17 =17
Hamburg, Germany 17 =17
Stockholm, Sweden 19 =19
Edinburgh, United Kingdom 19 =19

-ENDS-

About ECA’s Location Ratings

Updated annually, ECA International's Location Ratings system measures the quality of expatriate living conditions in over 480 locations around the world to arrive at a fair and consistent assessment of the level of difficulty the expatriate will experience in adapting to a new location. Factors evaluated include climate; availability of health services; housing and utilities; isolation; access to a social network and leisure facilities; infrastructure; personal safety; political tensions and air quality.

About ECA International (www.eca-international.com)

ECA International is the market leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

Partnering with thousands of clients on every continent, we provide a fully integrated suite of quality data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.

We make the complex world of international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support they need to make the right decisions - every time.

ECA International: Mobility solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.

Edinburgh is the only UK city in the top 20 most liveable cities in the world for European expats, closely followed by Aberdeen at 21.

Read more »

UK REMAINS CHEAP FOR OVERSEAS BUSINESSES AHEAD OF BREXIT

Press Releases   •   Dec 17, 2018 18:16 GMT

  • UK has dropped 81 places in the Cost of Living ranking since the Brexit referendum
  • Weakened GBP post-referendum makes UK one of cheapest countries in Europe for international employees and travellers
  • Australia and New Zealand now more affordable for British expats
  • 24 European cities drop in cost of living ranking, due in part to strong US dollar (USD) and weakened euro

Global mobility expert, ECA International (ECA) has revealed that London is now one of the cheapest major cities in Europe for overseas workers since the Brexit referendum, currently ranking 127th in its Cost of Living report.

As a result of the weakened GBP since the Brexit referendum, the cost of living in UK cities* is far lower than many in Europe such as in France, Germany and Belgium. Those coming in from the US will also find the cost of living much cheaper in the UK thanks to the strength of the US dollar in comparison to the post-referendum pound.

Brexit effect on UK cost of living

Steven Kilfedder, Production Manager for ECA International, said: “The cost of living in the UK has dropped significantly for overseas workers and visitors since the referendum along with the value of the pound. With the UK’s leave date fast approaching, all that can be certain is there will be more fluctuation in inflation and exchange rates as the nature of future relationships becomes clearer.”

The UK has dropped 81 places since the Brexit referendum according to ECA’s Cost of Living report which compares a basket of like-for-like consumer goods such as groceries, meats and vegetables, and essential household goods. ECA’s Cost of Living report analyses a basket of goods and services commonly purchased by international assignees in 479 locations worldwide. The survey allows businesses to ensure that their employees’ spending power is maintained when they are sent on international assignments. ECA International has been conducting research into cost of living for over 45 years.

“Just last week the GB pound dropped to a 20-month low then rose again by the end of the week thanks to political turmoil, demonstrating the economic rollercoaster that the UK is facing right now. Fluctuating exchange rates can have a huge impact on the cost of living for international assignees depending on how they are paid. Companies should have plans in place for countries going through a turbulent period to ensure their staff are not affected. Until a Brexit deal is made, we will not have a clear idea on what this will mean for the UK’s cost of living ranking against other major financial hubs,” continued Kilfedder.

US overtakes many European cities in the cost of living rankings

24 European cities have dropped in the cost of living rankings, partly due to the strength of the USD against the weakened Euro. European countries that have maintained their position at the top include Switzerland (four of the top five most expensive cities in the world), Norway (Oslo 9th, Stavanger 10th) and Denmark (Copenhagen 16th).

Kilfedder explained: “The euro has weakened recently as the EU faces slow levels of growth, the phasing out of quantitative easing, as well as challenges from Italy on the budget rules for 2019. However, the booming US economy and rising interest rates has caused every US city in the report to jump up the rankings, meaning many European cities have been pushed down in comparison. This is good news for those travelling from the US, but many Europeans relocating to the States will find it costlier.”

Four US cities have re-entered the Top 100 most expensive in the world, bringing it up to 17 cities in total. Miami, New Jersey, Baltimore and St Louis have jumped by 26 places on average. The cost of living in countries pegged to the USD, such as Hong Kong and some Middle Eastern countries, has also increased due to the strength of the USD.

Australia and New Zealand more affordable for British expats

The cost of living for overseas workers in Australia and New Zealand has plummeted since 2017, with every Australasian location included in the survey dropping at least 20 places. Although cities in these countries are still more expensive than in the UK, the cost of living gap has narrowed in the past year. Sydney and Canberra both fell out of the top 50 and now sit in 70th and 85th respectively, whilst Adelaide was the city to fall the most places – going from the 64th most expensive location to 111th in the space of a year. According to ECA’s report, petrol is an example of an item that is much cheaper in Sydney compared to London, costing 46p less per litre (96p compared to £1.42).

Kilfedder explained “Both the Australian and New Zealand dollar experienced difficulties over the past year and were outperformed by a number of other regional and global currencies. This is good news for UK residents living and working in these two nations however, as they have become much less expensive overall.”

The UAE leads a rise in the rankings for Middle Eastern countries

The cost of living in the majority of cities in the Middle East has increased, with the exception of Tehran in Iran. Manama in Bahrain has also re-entered to top 100, while Dubai, once considered a highly affordable business haven for UK workers has entered the top 50 for the first time**.

“The introduction of a five percent VAT in the UAE has pushed up the average price of goods and services in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. This, combined with the fact that its currency is pegged to the US dollar which has been strong in the last year has caused the cost of living for many overseas workers to jump. In the past five years these UAE cities have jumped by 125 and 128 places in the rankings, with Dubai now in 49th place and Abu Dhabi at 54th,” explained Kilfedder.

Swiss cities make up four of the top five most expensive in the world

Geneva (2nd), Zurich (3rd), Basel (4th) and Bern (5th) all continue to demonstrate that Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world, with the four Swiss cities maintaining a steady record of being within the top ten most expensive in the world for the past five years. A cup of coffee in Geneva for example costs £4.73, over £2 more than in central London (£2.71).

Kilfedder explained, “The four Swiss cities in our rankings have been among the top ten most expensive in the world for years despite very low or negative inflation for much of the time. A strong currency and particularly high prices for food are among the reasons why the country is so expensive for foreigners. However, despite the high prices, high salaries in the country mean locals are still well-off compared to their European counterparts.”

Location 2018 ranking 2017ranking
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 1 146
Geneva, Switzerland 2 4
Zurich, Switzerland 3 3
Basel, Switzerland 4 5
Bern, Switzerland 5 6
Hong Kong 6 9
Seoul, Korea Republic 7 11
Tokyo, Japan 8 8
Oslo, Norway 9 7
Stavanger, Norway 10 10

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors

About ECA International

ECA International is the market-leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

Partnering with thousands of clients on every continent, we provide a fully-integrated suite of quality data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.

We make the complex world of international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support they need to make the right decisions - every time.

ECA International: Mobility solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.

About ECA's Cost of Living Survey

ECA International's cost of living surveys are carried out in March and September using a basket of day-to-day goods and services commonly purchased by assignees. The data used above refers to year-on-year movements between ECA's September 2013 and September 2018 surveys. ECA’s Cost of Living Survey rankings began in 2005.

Cost of living indices are used by ECA clients to calculate cost of living allowances for assignees. The survey covers:

  • Food: Groceries; dairy produce; meat and fish; fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Basic: Household goods; recreational goods; general services; leisure services
  • General: Clothing; electrical goods; motoring; meals out; alcohol and tobacco

Certain living costs such as accommodation rental, utilities charges (electricity, gas, and water), car purchases and school fees are not included in the survey. Such items can make a significant difference to expenses but are usually compensated for separately in expatriate packages.

This comparison of cost of living was calculated on a base composed of various developed countries and is used to reflect an international lifestyle. Other indices available from ECA reflect specific city-to-city comparisons and different levels of shopping efficiency.

For further information, please contact:

Jack Firth

Tel: +44 0 20 7351 5000

Email: Jack.Firth@eca-international.com

About ECA International (www.eca-international.com)

ECA International is the market leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

Partnering with thousands of clients on every continent, we provide a fully integrated suite of quality data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.

We make the complex world of international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support they need to make the right decisions - every time.

ECA International: Mobility solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.

UK has dropped 81 places in the Cost of Living ranking since the Brexit referendum, as the weakened post-referendum pound makes UK one of cheapest countries in Europe for international employees

Read more »

Hong Kong salary increases continue to be among the lowest in Asia

Press Releases   •   Nov 22, 2018 16:16 GMT

- The average salary increase in Hong Kong is forecast to be only 1.9% above inflation in 2019 - Singapore and China will both see higher salary increases than Hong Kong next year

Singapore employees to receive 2.6% salary increase in 2019, according to ECA International

Press Releases   •   Nov 22, 2018 12:50 GMT

Average real salary increase in Singapore forecast to be 2.6%, down from 2.9% in 2018, due to higher inflation

UK SALARIES SET TO RISE IN 2019

Press Releases   •   Nov 22, 2018 09:38 GMT

UK professionals are expected to receive 0.8% real-terms salary increase in 2019, double the increase received in 2018 (0.4%).

The price of beer rises 5% in Munich, but Oktoberfest remains a bargain for overseas visitors

Press Releases   •   Sep 21, 2018 13:16 BST

The average cost of a 500ml bottle of beer purchased at a bar in Munich is EUR 6.37, compared with EUR 6.09 last year. However, this is still considerably cheaper than the price of a beer in London where the average is EUR 7.87, almost 25% more expensive.

The most expensive location in the world to buy a beer is Dhaka, Bangladesh – where one bottle would set you back an average of EUR 14.71.

“Although the prices at Oktoberfest are slightly higher than last year, the cost of buying a bottle of beer at a bar is still significantly cheaper than many locations around the world” said Steven Kilfedder, Production Manager at ECA International. “Places such as Scandinavia, as well as the UK and Ireland, have higher taxes on beer and alcohol resulting in higher prices when visiting a bar whereas the alcohol taxes in Germany are comparably low.”

The findings come from ECA’s latest Cost of Living Survey which compares a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by international assignees in 475 locations worldwide. The survey allows businesses to ensure that their employees’ spending power is maintained when they are sent on international assignments. ECA International has been conducting research into cost of living for over 45 years.

Reykjavik is the most expensive location in Europe to buy a beer, Czech Republic is the cheapest

The Icelandic capital of Reykjavik is the most expensive place in Europe to buy a beer at a bar, with a whopping average cost of EUR 13.69.

Kilfedder explained “The cost of alcohol in Scandinavia has always been high and this year remains no different, with the price of a beer in Reykjavik well over double that of Munich. The main reason for this is the very high level of tax that is imposed on alcohol in all Scandinavian countries, which drives up the price of beer. For instance, Oslo is also significantly more expensive than most locations in Europe, with visitors paying EUR 12.86 for a beer.”

The cheapest nation for beer in Europe is Czech Republic. In Brno, a bottle of beer at a bar would cost an average of EUR 2.48, over 60% cheaper than Munich.

Kilfedder said “The Czech Republic has long been known for cheap beer and the prices are among the cheapest in Europe, with Brno being the cheapest place to buy a bottle in the whole of Europe”.

London though is among the most expensive locations to purchase a beer, with an average cost of EUR 7.87 a bottle. However, prices in Paris are even higher, with a beer typically costing EUR 9.47 – 49% more expensive than in Munich.

Asian cities are the most expensive places to buy beer

Asian tourists to this year’s Oktoberfest are in for the biggest bargain, considering the high price of beer in many cities in the region. Dhaka leads the way with the average beer in the Bangladeshi city costing 131% more than in Munich.

Likewise, the average cost of a beer in Singapore is over double that of Munich too, at EUR 13.52, whilst the average amount on a night out in Hong Kong is EUR 9.96 – 56% more expensive than at the home of Oktoberfest.

Kilfedder said “The cost of beer in Dhaka especially is extremely expensive as it is only allowed to be sold to foreigners in selected restaurants and hotels.”

Lesotho is home to world’s cheapest beer

In what may be a surprise location to some – Maseru, Lesotho is the city with the cheapest beer in the world according to ECA’s survey. The average bottle bought at a bar would cost just EUR 2.40.

Kilfedder said “The Lesotho capital may not be everyone’s first thought as a tourist location, but visitors to the African location would be able to enjoy the cheapest beer prices in the world. However, this is mostly a result of the weak currency in the African nation in comparison to the euro.”

Affordable prices in North and South America, with New York a notable exception

A beer would not break the bank in most North or South American locations, with a beer in Rio de Janeiro only costing an affordable EUR 3.89 on average. Manhattan, New York on the other hand is unsurprisingly the most expensive location in the region, with a beer costing EUR 8.66 – 27% more than in Munich.

And for those looking for an Oktoberfest experience in North America - Cincinnati, home of one of the biggest Oktoberfest celebrations outside of Germany, is slightly cheaper than the Bavarian original with an average price of EUR 6.17 for a beer. 

The price of a bottle of beer around the world (selected)

Location Price of beer (EUR) % difference with Munich
Dhaka, Bangladesh 14.71 + 131%
Reykjavik, Iceland 13.69 + 115%
Singapore 13.52 + 112%
Oslo, Norway 12.86 + 102%
Paris, France 9.47 + 49%
London, UK 7.87 + 24%
Brussels, Belgium 6.34 - <1%
Madrid, Spain 5.13 - 19%
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 3.89 - 39%
Johannesburg, S. Africa 3.34 - 48%
Brno, Czech Republic 2.48 - 61%
Maseru, Lesotho 2.40 - 62%

Notes to Editors

About ECA International (www.eca-international.com)

ECA International is the market-leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

Partnering with thousands of clients on every continent, we provide a fully-integrated suite of quality data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.

We make the complex world of international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support they need to make the right decisions - every time.

ECA International: Mobility solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.

About ECA's Cost of Living Survey

ECA International's cost of living surveys are carried out in March and September using a basket of day-to-day goods and services commonly purchased by assignees. The data used above refers to year-on-year movements between ECA's March 2013 and March 2018 surveys. ECA’s Cost of Living Survey rankings began in 2005.

Cost of living indices are used by ECA clients to calculate cost of living allowances for assignees. The survey covers:

  • Food: Groceries; dairy produce; meat and fish; fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Basic: Household goods; recreational goods; general services; leisure services
  • General: Clothing; electrical goods; motoring; meals out; alcohol and tobacco

Certain living costs such as accommodation rental, utilities charges (electricity, gas, and water), car purchases and school fees are not included in the survey. Such items can make a significant difference to expenses but are usually compensated for separately in expatriate packages.

This comparison of cost of living was calculated on a base composed of various developed countries and is used to reflect an international lifestyle. Other indices available from ECA reflect specific city-to-city comparisons and different levels of shopping efficiency.

ECA's blog provides updates and commentary on currency, inflation and expatriate cost of living. Follow the blog here: https://eca-international.com/insights/blogs

About ECA International (www.eca-international.com)

ECA International is the market leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

Partnering with thousands of clients on every continent, we provide a fully integrated suite of quality data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.

We make the complex world of international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support they need to make the right decisions - every time.

ECA International: Mobility solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.

The price of a beer in Munich, the home of Oktoberfest, has risen 5% from last year but despite this, Munich remains a cheaper location than many other cities around the world. These are some of the latest findings of global mobility experts, ECA International (ECA).

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About ECA International

ECA International is the market leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

We provide data, software and expertise to multinational companies to help them manage and reward their international staff effectively.

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