Brexit knocks London out of top 100 most expensive cities for expats

by Ray Clancy on December 27, 2016

A weaker Pound due to the decision by the UK to leave the European Union, known as Brexit, has affected the ranking of British cities, with London dropping out of the top 100.

It means that they are cheaper for many people coming to live in the country with London falling 57 places to 103 in the latest cost of living survey published by knowledge and information provider ECA International.

london-cityA year ago London was among the top 50 most expensive cities for expats and it is the first time it has not featured in the top 100 since the ranking began more than 40 years ago. Edinburgh has fallen to 151st place globally, down from 67th last year. Cardiff is now ranked at 162nd place and Belfast has dropped 73 positions to 169th in 2016.

‘The weakened pound means that UK businesses are paying more when sending staff to work overseas, although it is cheaper to bring staff to the UK,’ said Steven Kilfedder, ECA International production manager.

It means that London is now cheaper than Paris, Berlin and Brussels and UK based locations have seen the largest declines in the European rankings in 2016 and the third largest decline in the world, behind Nigeria and Mozambique.

In London a cup of coffee costs US$3.39 compared to US$3.98 in New York, US$5.03 in Hong Kong but slightly more than the US$3.36 in Sydney. A beer in London is US$8.71 compared to US$10.04 in New York and US$12.29 in Honk Kong and US$8.67 in Sydney.

But in London a cinema ticket is more expensive at US$17.07 compared to US$15.72 in New York, US$12.65 in Hong Kong and US$16.10 in Sydney. Petrol is also more expensive in London than other places at US$1.60 compared to US$2.02 in Hong Kong but fuel is still cheaper in New York and Sydney at US$0.83 and US$1 respectively.

Tokyo has retaken the global top spot for first time since 2012 and Japanese locations move back into global top 10 most expensive while Moscow has risen 46 places in the global rankings.

Zurich has fallen off the global top spot this year, moving into third place in the global rankings. Despite prices falling in the previous year, Swiss cities continue to top the European rankings with all ranked locations placed in the global top 10.

The relative strength of the euro between surveys has seen most Eurozone locations rise in the global rankings with French, Dutch and German ones among those rising most in the past year.

However, over a five-year period locations in the Eurozone have fallen dramatically by 51 places on average, with the most significant decline seen in Spanish and Greek locations. With Madrid down 91 placed to 154th globally and Barcelona down 73 places to 157. Athens is down 86 to 150.

The weakening of the Norwegian krone contributed to Oslo’s continued fall down the rankings. Oslo was the world’s second most expensive location for expats in 2014 but it has since fallen to 14th.

Australian locations also rose in the rankings, by an average of 42 places compared to last year which the report says is a reflection of the stronger Australian dollar following an improved economic outlook domestically and from China over the survey period. Sydney remains the most expensive city in Australia at 53rd in the global rankings.

Shanghai, which was ranked as the most expensive location in the Asia Pacific region a year ago, has moved down six places to seventh while Shanghai is placed 13th globally, Beijing at 15, Guangzhou at 25 and Shenzhen at 32. Indeed, 13 out of the 14 ranked Chinese cities sit in the global top 50 most expensive locations with only Xiamen ranking just outside at 51.


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