Hong Kong stays on top of global ‘most expensive cities’ list

Hong Kong has retained the top spot in this year’s global index, which looks at the most expensive cities for expatriate employees.

Singapore came second, with Swiss cities Zurich, Geneva and Basel rounding out the top five most expensive cities.

London has jumped into the top 10, going up nine places since last year, to be ranked eighth in Mercer’s 2024 cost-of-living city ranking.

Placed just below New York on the list, London jumped up thanks to factors including the general cost of living and rental prices, according to those behind the list.

Edinburgh was placed at 53, Glasgow at 68, Birmingham at 78, Aberdeen at 82, and Belfast at 87.

Paris was ranked at 29 and Dublin at 41.

The index includes 226 locations. It measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Abuja in Nigeria was ranked the least expensive, at 226.

Mercer, a business of Marsh McLennan, compiles the ranking to help multinational employers plan compensation packages for workers.

Rising housing costs in many cities have been a challenge for employers, with volatile inflation trends also putting a strain on workers’ compensation packages, Mercer said.

Top 10 wealthiest cities in 2024 - in pictures

hong kong stays on top of global ‘most expensive cities’ list

New York City is home to the world’s highest concentration of resident millionaires at 349,500, a report by Henley & Partners and New World Wealth has found. AFP

hong kong stays on top of global ‘most expensive cities’ list

San Francisco's Bay Area ranked second with 305,700 millionaires. Getty Images

hong kong stays on top of global ‘most expensive cities’ list

Tokyo is home to 298,300 millionaires and is third on the list. Getty Images

hong kong stays on top of global ‘most expensive cities’ list

City-state Singapore climbed to fourth, with 244,800 resident millionaires. Getty Images

hong kong stays on top of global ‘most expensive cities’ list

London dropped to fifth place with 227,000 millionaires. Getty Images

hong kong stays on top of global ‘most expensive cities’ list

Los Angeles has a resident millionaire population of 212,100. Getty Images

hong kong stays on top of global ‘most expensive cities’ list

Paris is home to 165,000 millionaires, making it the seventh wealthiest city globally. Getty Images

hong kong stays on top of global ‘most expensive cities’ list

Sydney is home to 147,000 millionaires. Getty Images

hong kong stays on top of global ‘most expensive cities’ list

Hong Kong has a resident millionaire population of 143,400 and is ninth on the list. Getty Images

hong kong stays on top of global ‘most expensive cities’ list

Beijing is the world's 10th wealthiest city, with 125,600 resident millionaires. Getty Images

These factors can make it difficult for employers to attract and retain top talent and can increase compensation and benefits expenses, limit talent mobility and raise operational costs, the report said.

“Cost-of-living challenges have had a significant impact on multinational organisations and their employees," said Yvonne Traber, Mercer’s global mobility leader.

“It’s important for organisations to stay informed about cost-of-living trends and inflation rates, and seek input from employees on these issues to effectively manage their effects.

“High living costs may cause assignees to adjust their lifestyle, cut back on discretionary spending or even struggle to meet their basic needs.”

Ms Traber said some employers may wish to offer compensation packages that include housing allowances or subsidies, or provide support services.

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