World's Most Expensive Locations for Expats  

Asian Hubs top list of World's Most Expensive Locations for Expats
If you are thinking to relocate abroad and budget is a major factor in your decision, you might want to veer your sight from some Asian cities which have become some of the world's most expensive cities for expats, according to the findings of a new report which shows Asia's increasing economic influence worldwide.
Indeed, the highest cost of living for international residents is still registered in one Asian city. Tokyo continues to top the ranking in a new survey from ECA International -the world's leader employer information firm-, followed by other three Japanese cities in the top 10. In comparison, London gained 11 places and now takes the 58th position worldwide.
At the same time, while cities in Greater China become more and more expensive to live in, other locations in Europe go down the list –calculated by measuring the cost of basic day-to-day goods and services like groceries, drinks, clothing and meals out in each city. Particularly, Hong Kong has shot up 26 places in the list of most expensive cities to become the 32nd most costly location for expats, overtaking classic luxurious locations like Paris (42nd) and Manhattan (36th). Meanwhile, Hong Kong remains cheaper than other regional hubs such as Beijing (22nd), Shanghai (26th) –which have also climbed up the list- and Singapore (31st).
“Over the past 12 months, we have seen the cost of our representative basket of goods and services in Hong Kong increase by 6.7% -slightly more than the regional average,” said Lee Quane, regional director, Asia, ECA International.
“At the same time, the Hong Kong dollar's peg to a stronger US dollar in making the SAR more expensive for many companies sending employees there on assignment,” he said. Living costs for assignees are affected by a rocketing inflation, availability of goods and exchange rates, all of which are factors on assignee remuneration packages.
ECA carries out two Cost of Living Surveys per year comparing a basket of consumer goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in more than 400 locations at a global scale. These surveys are conceived to assist multinational companies estimate assignment salaries.
“Certain living costs such as accommodation rental, utilities charges, car purchases and school fees are not included in this survey. Although such items can have a significant effect on overall cost of living, they are usually compensated for separately in expatriate packages so this data is researched and published separately,” explained Quane.
In the course of the last three years, Asian hubs have jumped up the global ranking. At present, nine Asian locations feature in the top 50 most expensive centres for international assignees worldwide. In contrast, only four were in the top 50 in 2009, none of which were Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai or Seoul. This shows the intense economic transformation undergone in the region.

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