Singapore is fifth costliest city for expats

A survey has found that Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world for expatriates to live in.

With high demand for expat accommodation and goods, in addition to its strong currency, Singapore is ranked fifth globally when it comes to expat costs. Singapore is still behind Tokyo, which has come in at third place this year, according to Mercer’s 2013 Cost of Living Survey. Tokyo was the most expensive city in the 2012 rankings, but has fallen due to a weaker local currency.

Coming in close behind Singapore is Asian powerhouse Hong Kong at sixth place. Sydney is also in the top 10 worldwide, coming in at ninth place. Demand for rentals in Sydney has been growing and supply has not been keeping pace.

In the report, Mercer said that the cost of expatriate housing is typically the biggest expense for employers, and it plays an important part in determining the rankings.

"Given the increasing numbers of business travellers, global ‘commuters' and longer-term expatriates, companies are keeping a close eye on the cost of living for international assignees in different cities around the world. Organisations need to evaluate the impact of currency fluctuations, inflation, and political instability when sending employees on overseas assignments while ensuring they can facilitate the moves they need to drive the business results by offering fair and competitive compensation packages,” said Barb Marder, Senior Partner and Mercer's Global Mobility Practice Leader.


The top 10 costliest cities for expatriates as of March 2013 are:

  1. Luanda, Angola
  2. Moscow, Russia
  3. Tokyo, Japan
  4. Ndjamena, Chad
  5. Singapore, Singapore
  6. Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  7. Geneva, Switzerland
  8. Zurich, Switzerland
  9. Bern, Switzerland
  10. Sydney, Australia

Source: Mercer's 2013 Cost of Living Survey

24th Jul 2013