Tokyo is most expensive city for expats

@CNNMoney June 12, 2012: 2:31 PM ET
Tokyo has become the most expensive city in the world, according to a study done to estimate costs for foreign business people posted abroad.

Tokyo has become the most expensive city in the world, according to a study done to estimate costs for foreign business people living abroad.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- With blue jeans costing almost $150 and movie tickets going for $22, Tokyo has grabbed the dubious title of the world's most expensive city in a report by business consultant Mercer.

The Japanese capital edged out Luanda, Angola, which was No. 1 last year on the survey, which estimates the cost of living for expatriates. This allows multinational firms to determine an allowance for employees it places in cities around the world.

Two cities in Pakistan were at the bottom of the list of 214 cities worldwide, with Karachi ranking as the cheapest city, and Islamabad just behind it.

Factors such as economic and political upheavals cause the rankings to change annually, as do currency fluctuations, inflation and volatility in housing prices.

The strength of the Japanese yen, which makes items in Japan more expensive when paying with other currencies, lifted Tokyo into the top spot. Osaka, Japan, also saw a bump -- up to No. 3, from No. 6 a year ago. Many European cities moved lower in the ranking, due to the euro's declining value because of the ongoing European debt crisis.

The report looked at prices of everything from a luxury two-bedroom apartment to that of a fast-food hamburger or a copy of an international newspaper.

A two-bedroom apartment costs $4,847.69 a month in Tokyo, according to the study, which was a relative bargain compared to some of the other cities on the list. Hong Kong rents were the highest, at $7,092.48, and Luanda's were second, at $6,500.

But the cost of more than 200 everyday necessities for expats is what lifted the Japanese cities to the top of the rankings, despite the relative "bargains" on rent.

New York, which ranked 33rd worldwide, is the most expensive city in the United States, followed by Los Angeles at 68, and San Francisco at 90. Winston-Salem, N.C. is the United States' least expensive city on the list, with a ranking of 195. To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.01%4.03%
15 yr fixed3.12%2.97%
5/1 ARM3.11%2.99%
30 yr refi4.04%4.09%
15 yr refi3.15%3.05%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Economic Calendar
Latest ReportNext Update
Home pricesAug 28
Consumer confidenceAug 28
GDPAug 29
Manufacturing (ISM)Sept 4
JobsSept 7
Inflation (CPI)Sept 14
Retail sales Sept 14
CNNMoney Sponsors

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.