Swiss cities dominate list of most expensive locations in the world for expats

Zurich, Switzerland

ECA International today reveals that Zurich is the most expensive city in Europe for expatriates in the latest Cost of Living rankings. Despite little change in prices compared with the previous year, Swiss cities continue to dominate the global top 10 with Zurich 3rd, Geneva 4th, Basel 5th and Bern 6th.

“The comparative strength of the franc has contributed to Switzerland remaining as one of the most expensive countries surveyed in the world. Despite prices hardly rising in the previous year, Swiss cities dominate the top of the rankings,” said Steven Kilfedder, Production Manager, ECA International.

ECA’s ‘Cost of Living Survey’ compares a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by international assignees in over 460 locations worldwide. The survey allows businesses to ensure that their employees’ spending power is maintained when they are sent on international assignments. ECA has been conducting research into cost of living for over 45 years.

UK cities have dropped as many as 68 places from last year, their lowest ever recorded. Central London is now 132nd in the world, down from 65th last year, its lowest ever recorded since ECA first began publishing the Cost of Living rankings over 10 years ago. Central London sits just above Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, in the global rankings, and has now been overtaken by Rio de Janeiro (88th), Bangkok (116th) and Dublin (120th).

Kilfedder said: “Thanks to the weakened pound UK businesses are paying more to send staff to work overseas, but it is cheaper to bring staff to the UK.”

Edinburgh has fallen to 165th, Cardiff is now ranked at 175th and Belfast has dropped to 186th in ECA’s ranking.

Global top 10 most expensive locations for expatriates

Country Location Ranking 2017
Angola Luanda 1
Hong Kong Hong Kong 2
Switzerland Zurich 3
Switzerland Geneva 4
Switzerland Basel 5
Switzerland Bern 6
Japan Tokyo 7
Korea Republic Seoul 8
Venezuela Caracas 9
Sudan Khartoum 10