Hong Kong, Singapore, and Zurich: The World's Most Expensive Cities

According to a recent survey by consulting firm Mercer, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Zurich have topped the list of the most expensive cities to live in.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Hong Kong, Singapore, and Zurich: The World's Most Expensive Cities

According to a recent survey by consulting firm Mercer, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Zurich have topped the list of the most expensive cities to live in. Despite the recent setback faced by Credit Suisse, a bedrock of the Swiss banking system, Switzerland's reputation as a haven for substantial capital and high wages remains unscathed.

It has consequently reflected in the cost of living in Swiss cities, with four out of the five most expensive European cities globally being in Switzerland: Zurich (third), Geneva (fourth), Basel (fifth), and Bern (seventh).

The Danish capital, Copenhagen, rounds off the top five European cities, followed by other high-cost European cities including London, Vienna, Amsterdam, Prague, and Helsinki. From Spain, Barcelona and Madrid ranked 75th and 83rd, respectively.

Yvonne Traber, Global Mobility Partner at Mercer, remarked on the issue, "Competition in the global talent market is fierce, and the cost-of-living crisis affects both employees and businesses, who need to be more flexible." Mercer admits that prices are not the sole determining factor in attracting new businesses and workers, suggesting that factors like quality of life, infrastructure, and security also play a role.

Significant Shifts and Striking Features in Global Cost of Living

This year's survey highlights some notable advancements. Singapore, a key global business hub with a robust presence of multinational companies across finance, logistics, trade, and transport sectors, rose six places to the second position.

To mitigate soaring property prices triggered by an influx of expats, Singapore has introduced policies including discounts for locals seeking to buy a home. Similarly, Nassau in the Bahamas and Los Angeles, California, also ascended six places to the 10th and 11th spots respectively.

Los Angeles now stands as the second most expensive city in the USA, trailing only behind New York (sixth globally), and closely followed by San Francisco (13th). Meanwhile, Tel Aviv remains the priciest city in the Middle East, sitting at 8th place globally.

Other Middle Eastern cities such as Dubai (18th), Abu Dhabi (43rd), Riyadh (85th), and Jeddah (101st) have also moved up the list. This year's census also spotlighted a sharp rise in the cost of living in several African cities.

Luanda, the capital of Angola, leapt 34 places to become the 30th most expensive city globally, while Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo rose 21 places to 32nd. Other cities like Conakry and N'Djamena saw significant jumps in the rankings.

Latin American cities experienced the most dramatic ascents in global rankings: San José (Costa Rica) rose 76 places, Mexico City climbed 70 spots, and Buenos Aires and Montevideo tied at 69. However, it wasn't all upward movements: Havana, Cairo, and Osaka fell significantly.

Karachi and Islamabad in Pakistan languish at the very bottom of the ranking, indicating the diverse landscape of global living costs.

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