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Expat Rent Prices – 2017 Worldwide City Ranking

  • Consequence of the Brexit vote : London is no longer the most expensive city to find a flat for expats

  • American cities continue to progress in the ranking
  • Paris is now only 27th

EuroCost International publishes its new worldwide ranking of rents paid by expats.

Although expat housing conditions can vary a lot from one country to another, EuroCost International publishes a yearly worldwide ranking based on a specific type of housing.

This time, we have considered 2- and 3-bedroom flats (average prices converted in euros, reference date December 2016).

Top 20 ranking of rents paid by expats in 2017

 

City

Country

2016 ranking

1

Hong Kong

China

(2)

2

Tokyo

Japan

(3)

3

London

United Kingdom

(1)

4

New York

United States

(4)

5

Luanda

Angola

(5)

6

San Francisco

United States

(6)

7

Juba

South Sudan

(10)

8

Geneva

Switzerland

(7)

9

Moscow

Russia

(8)

10

Singapore

Singapore

(9)

11

Beirut

Lebanon

(11)

12

Washington

United States

(14)

13

Doha

Qatar

(13)

14

Los Angeles

United States

(18)

15

Shanghai

China

(12)

16

Sydney

Australia

(16)

17

Osaka

Japan

(23)

18

Zurich

Switzerland

(15)

19

Mumbai

India

(17)

20

Miami

United States

(24)

The most expensive cities in the world

For the first time in four years, London is no longer at the top spot. Devaluation of the pound against the euro is a direct consequence of the Brexit vote: the pound has lost 13.5% of its value between December 2015 and December 2016.

Hong Kong is now the most expensive city to rent a flat. Rent prices have remained stable over the year, but the city has been propelled to the top spot by exchange rate fluctuations.

Tokyo is now second, just ahead of London, not only because of the yen reinforcement, but also because rent prices have slightly increased over the year. The latter had not been reported for long in the Japanese capital. The yen revaluation is also the reason why Osaka has entered the world top 20.

New York, Luanda and San Francisco keep their positions, respectively 4th, 5th and 6th. Decreasing rent prices in Angola’s capital have had no influence on its position.

Apart from New York and San Francisco, there are now three other US locations in the world top 20: Washington, Los Angeles and Miami. Their progression is not only the result of exchange rate fluctuations (+4.5% against the euro): in all three cities, rent prices have strongly increased for expats.

The other locations of this top 20 have regularly appeared in our ranking. It is worth pointing out that the offer on the expat rental market is slightly improving in Juba (7th) but rent prices remain particularly high. The market also seems to calm down in Moscow (9th) where rent prices expressed in USD’s have stabilized during the second semester 2016.

Regional highlights

Asia-Oceania

This area remains the world champion of the ranking with seven cities in the top 20, as last year.

Positions have hardly changed in this regional ranking that contains the same 10 cities as in 2016.

Hong Kong is still the most expensive city, still followed by Tokyo and Singapore.

The only change is the progression of Osaka that gains three spots with the yen revaluation.

Top 10 Asia-Oceania
  1. Hong Kong
  2. Tokyo
  3. Singapore
  4. Shanghai
  5. Sydney
  6. Osaka
  7. Mumbai
  8. Beijing
  9. Seoul
  10. Jakarta

Europe

Europe is represented by four cities in the world ranking, as last year.

Although it is no longer the most expensive city in the world, London remains on top of the European ranking.

The British capital is still followed by Geneva, Moscow and Zurich.

Changes only appear from the 5th spot. Amsterdam has indeed just overtaken Paris, after rental prices have strongly increased there in 2016 for expats.

Increasing rental prices in Copenhagen have also contributed to its rise in the ranking (+1).

Kiev continues to fall in the ranking and is now only 8th.

Dublin is a newcomer in this regional ranking. Its presence can be attributed to very strong rental price increases in 2016.

European Top 10
  1. London
  2. Geneva
  3. Moscow
  4. Zurich
  5. Amsterdam
  6. Paris
  7. Copenhagen
  8. Kiev
  9. The Hague
  10. Dublin

Americas

The American continent is now home to 5 cities in the top 20 worldwide ranking, 5 US major cities (New York, San Francisco, Washington, Los Angeles and Miami). Joining them in the top 7 destinations are Boston, 6th and Chicago, 7th.

Latin American cities only appear in the last 3 spots; Mexico, 8th, Sao Paulo, 9th and Panama, 10th. Sao Paulo had disappeared from the ranking last year because of the real very strong devaluation and it is now back thanks to the real revaluation this time (+24.8% over the year against the euro).

American Top 10
  1. New York
  2. San Francisco
  3. Washington
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Miami
  6. Boston
  7. Chicago
  8. Mexico
  9. Sao Paulo
  10. Panama

Africa

Africa remains underrepresented in the world ranking of the most expensive cities but, in many African countries, expats prefer to opt for a villa rather than a flat. That is why several countries do not appear in this flat ranking whereas housing costs may be very high for expats.

Luanda and Juba still rank as the uncontested top places of the African ranking. Bangui is now third, partly because of the specific security measures that expats had to take in the Central Africa turmoil.

As last year, Kinshasa and Maputo rank 4th and 5th, respectively.

The devaluation of the naira has made Lagos disappear from the African top 5.

African Top 5
  1. Luanda
  2. Juba
  3. Bangui
  4. Kinshasa
  5. Maputo

Middle East

The Middle East top 5 remains unchanged, with top locations Beirut and Doha present in the world top 20.

Abu Dhabi (world 21st), Dubai (22nd) and Riyadh (30th) have all seen their rent prices decrease in 2016 in local currencies.

Middle East Top 5
  1. Beirut
  2. Doha
  3. Abu Dhabi
  4. Dubai
  5. Riyadh

Specific expat surveys

EuroCost International data reflects the local rental market for expats and therefore differs from the local rental market in terms of price level as well as evolution.
Areas selected for our surveys are the residential areas frequented by expats.
We collect prices for different types of housing, from studios to large detached houses, but these can be adapted to the specificity of each country. In a country where all expats live in houses, our survey will only report house prices.
All dwellings considered range from good to very good quality to ensure that expats benefit from comfortable living conditions.
Prices are collected in the currency used for the payment of the rent (very often USD’s or in euros rather than in local currency).
Housing is a crucial element for an expatriation; therefore many companies seriously consider their expats’ living conditions.
Our rent surveys are usually provided separately from the cost of living index to fully meet the needs of our customers, but rent prices can be included in our indices.
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