Hong Kong 'most expensive city for ex-pats'

60185.JPG Cityscape of Hong Kong Tim Hall "color,horizontal,exterior,center,travel,hong kong,city,power,wealth,world landmarks a
60185.JPG Cityscape of Hong Kong Tim Hall "color,horizontal,exterior,center,travel,hong kong,city,power,wealth,world landmarks a

Hong Kong is now the most expensive place in the world for ex-pats to live, overtaking the Angolan capital, Luanda.

Luanda drops to second position, says the report from international consulting firm Mercer, thanks to a falling oil price that has weakened its currency. Meanwhile, Zurich and Singapore remain in third and fourth position, while Tokyo has risen to fifth.

London has fallen from 12th place to 17th - partly because of the pound's weakness against the dollar.

So what makes these places so expensive?

1. Hong Kong
Hong Kong, partly because of its small size, has always been a particularly expensive city for ex-pats. A three-bedroom house costs an eye-watering $12,077 a month, and a two-bedroom flat is $6,809. Even a pair of jeans costs $128 - although the city is still one of the cheapest to buy fast food.

2. Luanda, Angola
Luanda's oil boom has brought in a stream of foreign workers, all of whom need a smart place to live - and there's a limited supply. Here, an unfurnished two-bedroom flat in a good neighbourhood costs $6,700 a month.

3. Zurich, Switzerland
Given the Swiss banking industry, it's hardly surprising that it's the most expensive city in Europe for ex-pats.

4. Singapore
The World Bank once called Singapore 'the easiest place to do business', and multinationals have flocked to the island city state. But that's driven up prices, and a two-bedroom unfurnished apartment in a good area costs $3,129 a month.

5. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo jumped six places from last year, thanks to a strengthening yen, along with several other Japanese cities. A loaf of bread costs over $6, though a coffee's only $4.

6. Kinshasa, Dem Rep of the Congo
Kinshasa has shot up seven places in the list since last year, partly because of heavy investment from China. The city plays host to numerous corporate staff and NGOs, all putting pressure on prices.

7. Shanghai, China
Shanghai has actually dropped in the rankings from last year, thanks to a falling currency. "The strengthening of the Japanese yen pushed Japanese cities up in the ranking," says Nathalie Constantin-Metral, who compiled the ranking. "However, Chinese cities fell in the ranking due to the weakening of the Chinese yuan against the US dollar."

8. Geneva, Switzerland
The second most expensive European city for ex-pats, Geneva is actually getting a little cheaper. "Despite some marked price increases across the region, several local currencies in Europe have weakened against the US dollar which pushed a few cities down in the ranking," says Constantin-Métral.

9. Ndjamena, Chad
N'Djamena's high prices are down in part to a rocketing population. And with the high living standards of most ex-pats, there is intense pressure on the prices of both housing and imported goods.

10. Beijing, China
In Beijing, a two-bedroom flat of international standards costs over £3,500 a month. And it's not the only Chinese city to feature in the rankings, with Shenzhen at number 12 and Guangzhou in eighteenth place.

Singapore, HK property market in slow decline: PropertyGuru
Singapore, HK property market in slow decline: PropertyGuru