Singapore ranked second-most expensive city for expats by Mercer

Singapore ranked second-most expensive city for expats by Mercer

HONG KONG - Regional finance hubs Hong Kong and Singapore have topped a global list of the world’s most expensive cities for expatriates, keeping Swiss destinations from the top spots for the second year in a row.

High rental costs saw the rival cities beat Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Bern to the top of the table, according to Mercer’s 2024 Cost of Living report.

New York fell one spot to land in seventh place. London took eighth place, rising nine spots since last year’s ranking.

Mercer’s report said rising housing costs and “volatile inflation trends” were putting pressure on expat workers’ compensation packages.

“Cost-of-living challenges have had a significant impact on multinational organisations and their employees,” said Yvonne Traber, Mercer’s global mobility leader, in a press release.

“High living costs may cause assignees to adjust their lifestyle, cut back on discretionary spending or even struggle to meet their basic needs,” Traber said. “To offset these challenges, employers can offer compensation packages that include housing allowances or subsidies or provide other support services.”

Elsewhere on the list:

Seven US cities made the top 20, including Los Angeles (10th spot), Honolulu (12th) and San Francisco (13th)

Sydney was the Pacific region’s costliest place (58th)

Toronto was Canada’s most expensive city (92nd)

Mumbai was India’s priciest destination (136th)

Nigeria’s Lagos (225th) and Abuja (226th) tumbled to the bottom of the table due to currency fluctuations.

Mercer measured the comparative cost of more than 200 items and services – including housing, transport, food, clothing and household goods – to come up with its ranking of 226 cities.

These are Mercer’s top 10 most expensive cities for expats:

  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • Basel, Switzerland
  • Bern, Switzerland
  • New York
  • London
  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • Los Angeles

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