Top ten most expensive cities for expats in 2022

The World's most expensive cities for expats in 2022

In a recent study by ECA International published Dec 7 on the most expensive cities to live in for expats, Singapore has seen an increase in ranking from the 12th spot in 2021 to the 8th in 2022.

The biggest driver of Singapore’s rise in our rankings has been a double-digit increase in rental costs in 2022,” said Lee Quane, regional director – Asia at ECA International. “The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the supply of accommodation coming to market, and demand has increased significantly as the city has opened its borders once again. This may be a short-term shock, but nonetheless, it has been responsible for Singapore’s current position as one of the ten most expensive locations worldwide.

Hong Kong Drops to second place.

Hong Kong continues to be the most expensive city in Asia and the second most expensive city globally, with New York City edging past the financial hub as rents in the US soared.

Top ten most expensive cities in the world 2022 (Source: ECA International)

In China, a weaker yuan and relatively low inflation rates have resulted in all surveyed cities in China dropping, with Guangzhou and Shanghai falling out of the global top 10 in 2022, said Quane.

Low rates of inflation relative to other locations worldwide, alongside a weaker currency has made locations in mainland China relatively cheaper this year,” Quane noted. “Although prices have risen in Chinese cities meaning that living costs are higher in 2022 than they were in 2021, cities have nonetheless fallen in our rankings as prices have risen at a faster rate elsewhere.” 

Tokyo, meanwhile, is out of the top 10 in 2022 after ranking 3rd in 2021. Nagoya also fell 49 places to 87th place, below Brussels and Rome. This was due to the Japanese yen depreciating by 20% year-on-year against the US dollar.

How the study is done?

ECA International’s study is based on surveys that compare a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in over 490 locations worldwide. ECA’s accommodation data is also considered, with the study comparing rental costs in areas typically inhabited by expatriate staff in over 420 locations worldwide.

All over the world, the cost-of-living crisis is continuing to bite. According to the Worldwide Cost of Living Index, which is run by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the average cost of living is up by 8.1 percent – largely thanks to the Russian war in Ukraine and the long-term consequences of the pandemic.

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