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Moving Costs

Rental prices, euro changes push Dublin up 'costliest cities for expats' survey

The annual Mercer survey provides a relative comparison of costs for expat workers in 211 cities around the world.

DUBLIN HAS MOVED up 10 places in an annual survey of the costliest cities for expats to live in.

The Irish capital as Dublin is ranked 51st in this year’s Mercer’s Cost of Living survey for expatriots, which measures the comparative cost of over 200 items including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment in 211 cities around the world.

Belfast jumped 38 places from last year’s results to number 120.

The latest survey notes that Asian and European cities dominate the rankings as the most expensive places for foreign workers to move to, although the top two positions are held by Luanda in Angola and N’Djamena in Chad.

Senior Consultant at Mercer Noel O’Connor explains:

While Luanda and N’Djamena are relatively inexpensive cities, they are quite costly for expatriates since imported goods come at a premium. In addition, finding secure living accommodations that meet the standards of expatriates can be challenging and quite costly as well. This is generally why some African cities rank high in our survey.

O’Connor adds that west European cities were boosted in the rankings because of the euro’s slight strengthening against the dollar and increased demand for rental property.

“Dublin’s move up ten places in the 2014 Cost of Living survey primarily reflects both of these factors,” he said.

Conversely, Australian, Canadian and Japanese cities fell in the rankings due to the shift in their local currencies against the US dollar. New York was the highest-ranked US city, at number 16, while LA climbed 10 places to 62 and San Francisco rose 18 places to number 74.

According to Mr. O’Connor: “Even though we saw US cities rise in the rankings this year due in part to the strength of the US dollar, it’s important to note that relative costs shift with currency volatility, making overseas assignment costs sometimes greater and sometimes smaller.”

The survey data is provided for governments and major companies to use when calculating the relative purchasing power of their employees during postings and relocation abroad.

The top ten cities ranked in the survey are:

  1. Luanda, Angola
  2. N’Djamena, Chad
  3. Hong Kong
  4. Singapore
  5. Zurich, Switzerland
  6. Geneva, Switzerland
  7. Tokyo, Japan
  8. Bern, Switzerland
  9. Moscow, Russia
  10. Shanghai, China

At the other end of the scale, Karachi in Pakistan ranks as the least expensive city for expats.

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