Hong Kong named most expensive city to live and work in Mercer’s 2022 Cost of Living index 



30th June 2022 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong has been named the most expensive city in which to live and work overseas this year, according to a new report which highlights the impact of rising living costs and worsening macroeconomic trends on the expatriate market.

The city rose one place in Mercer’s 2022 Cost of Living index to regain pole position after being bumped to second place in 2021 by Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. It marks the fourth time in five years that the Asian financial hub has been ranked as the costliest location for overseas workers.

Hong Kong’s resurgence was driven partially by rising inflationary pressures, which have pushed living costs higher across the globe. Meanwhile, ongoing Covid restrictions and increased political volatility have made it more expensive to compensate staff who are posted there, Mercer partner Vince Cordova told CNBC.

“Part of it is the real estate market,” said Cordova, noting that desirable accommodation has now become more expensive, pushing up the cost of expat packages.

“The other part is the cost of goods and services and also the political uncertainty. The people who are going to be there will need to spend more to live well,” he said.

The city was bumped 13 places in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index 2022 last week, amid what the EIU cited as its loss of political and cultural freedom.

Hong Kong was the Asian outlier in a top five dominated by Swiss cities in Mercer’s 2022 Cost of Living index: Zurich, Switzerland ranked as the world’s second most expensive city for overseas workers, followed by Geneva (3rd), Basel (4th) and Bern (5th).

Cordova said that was thanks to the strength of the Swiss franc, which has, until recently, held steady against a rising U.S. dollar, the benchmark currency in Mercer’s report.

The most expensive cities for expats

  1. Hong Kong, Hong Kong (SAR)
  2. Zurich, Switzerland
  3. Geneva, Switzerland
  4. Basel, Switzerland
  5. Bern, Switzerland
  6. Tel Aviv, Israel
  7. New York City, United States
  8. Singapore, Singapore
  9. Tokyo, Japan
  10. Beijing, China