The cost of living in NZ

September 1, 2017

The cost of living and working in New Zealand’s largest cities has jumped significantly over the past year – but compared to our neighbours, Auckland and Wellington provide a veritable bargain for multi-national companies looking to establish an expat workforce in the region.

Mercer’s 2017 Cost of Living survey compares more than 400 cities across five continents and ranks the most expensive places to live and work abroad.

Auckland is our most expensive city for expats, ranking 61 in the global survey – up from 98 in 2016. Wellington also jump nearly 40 places, from 123 to 86.

Simon Kennedy, Market Insights Practice Leader at Mercer, says the increased cost of living in New Zealand is “not all bad news”.

Kennedy says eight of the top fifteen most expensive cities for expats are in Asia – Hong Kong (2) Tokyo (3), Singapore (5), Seoul (6), and Shanghai (8) are all ranked in the top 10 – which means New Zealand could be more cost-effective and attractive for businesses looking to send employees on international assignments.

The world’s most expensive city

The top 10 is packed with the most prestigious cities of Europe, Asia and the US – think Hong Kong, Geneva and New York – but the top spot belongs to none of these “super luxe” cities.

The honor of most expensive city in the world for expatriates goes to Luanda, the capital city of Uganda.

Tens of thousands of American and European expats have landed in Luanda over the past decade, on consignment from multinational companies looking to tap in to Angola’s massive oil reserves. Currently, Angola produces 1.8 million barrels of oil a day.

The chief reason for the high cost of living in Luanda is largely due to accommodation costs. Supply of housing that expats typically choose to live in is limited in the country which still recovering from years of a bloody civil war; so prices tend to be high.

It’s not the first time that Luanda has topped the list in Mercer’s annual Cost of Living Survey; it was ranked first in 2014 and 2015, before dropping to second place in 2016.

The top 10

1

LUANDA

Angola

2

HONG KONG

Hong Kong

3

TOKYO

Japan

4

ZURICH

Switzerland

5

SINGAPORE

Singapore

6

SEOUL

South Korea

7

GENEVA

Switzerland

8

SHANGHAI

China

9

NEW YORK CITY

United States

10

BERN

Switzerland

The world’s most comprehensive survey

Mercer's authoritative survey is one of the world’s most comprehensive, and is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for expatriate employees.

The survey includes over 400 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

New York is used as the base city and all cities are compared against it. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar.

Watch the Cost Of Living Ranking video

Cost of living video

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