Manhattan is most expensive place in the Americas for expats

by Ray Clancy on January 18, 2017

Manhattan is the most expensive place in the Americas and the 24th most expensive location in the world for expats, global research shows.

Worldwide over the past five years US locations have climbed by 53 places on average in the cost of living rankings compiled by ECA International and even though Manhattan has fallen in the global rankings from 15th in 2015 to 24th in 2016, it has gone up by 24 places since 2011.

ManhattanIn the Americas Honolulu is second, followed by New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, Silicon Valley in California, with San Diego, Chicago and Greenwich in Connecticut making up the top 10. The only locations outside of the US in the top 20 is Buenos Aires in Argentina.

However, the fall down the rankings for Manhattan is due to the relative strength of other currencies and it may be short lived as the dollar has started to appreciate again in recent weeks.

Michael Witkowski, vice president of ECA International New York believes that US locations are likely climb back up the rankings in upcoming surveys in 2017.

The surveys compare a basket of like for like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in over 450 locations worldwide. Certain living costs, such as accommodation rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees are usually covered by separate allowances.

In South America Buenos Aires has fallen significantly in both regional and global rankings to 77th in sharp contrast to 2015 when it was 21st. The report points out that the peso significantly weakened after the currency was allowed to float following the presidential elections in late 2015.

By contrast Brazilian cities in ECA’s rankings rose by an average of 60 places, one of the largest single year rises in the survey. The real rebounded strongly, despite Brazil’s economic recession deepening, as a new government took power after the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff.

Conversely, cities in Canada, where the currency has strengthened against a number of currencies between surveys, including the US dollar, have risen in the global rankings.

Vancouver, the most expensive city in Canada for expats has gone up 22 places to 100th globally. However, over the past five years, Canadian locations have fallen dramatically in the global rankings.

Vancouver, in 45th position in 2011, has fallen 55 places to its current position. Montreal, in 134th position this year, has fallen 69 places since 2011. Toronto has fallen 77 places to 136th position globally.

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