Hong Kong the World’s Most Expensive City for Expats

Friday, March 14th, 2014
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A new survey has revealed that Hong Kong is the most expensive city in the world for companies to relocate employee as a result of its exorbitant residential and office costs.

Hong Kong has earned first place on the latest Savills World Cities Live-Work Index, which measures the annual cost borne by companies to rent both residential and office space for relocated staff.

According to the index, the average cost borne by a company to provide residential and office space to a single employee is approximately US$123,000 per annum on average.

This figure puts it well ahead of other leading financial centres and expat hubs in Asia. The cost of providing housing and office space for relocated professionals in Hong Kong is 3.8 times greater than in Shanghai, the city’s chief rival as China’s leading financial centre, as well as 1.6 times more expensive than Singapore, Southeast Asia’s other key financial hub.

London came in second place for annual live-work costs at $115,000 per employee, edging just ahead of third-place holder New York, which has an annual live-work  cost of $112,000 per employee.

Paris took fourth place with an annual live-work cost of $107,000, while Singapore and Tokyo came in fifth and sixth place, with live-work costs of $76,000 and $74,000 respectively.

Closer to home, Sydney ranked ninth, with the annual live-work cost for relocating employees pegged at around $60,000.

The financial sector is behind much of the premium paid for residential and office space in the top cities on the Savills list.

Although Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive city for accommodating financial professionals, it is the third most expensive city for housing tech or creative workers. In London a similar disparity can be observed, with live-work costs ranking second for financial professionals, yet fourth for tech and creative employee accommodation.

According to Savills, the financial sector is also responsible for driving up the cost of accommodation and office space in regional centres such as Moscow and Dubai.

Savills’ figures also indicate that the average global live-work cost per annum has leaped by 21 per cent over the past five years, when rental markets hit a bottom in the immediate wake of the Global Financial Crisis.

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