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The most expensive cities in the world – where does NZ fall?

With the cost-of-living crisis prevalent in most areas of the world, Mercer’s new report reveals which cities are the most expensive, which are the most affordable and where the major New Zealand cities fall.

Which city is the most expensive in the world? Well, Mercer’s new report reveals the answer to be Hong Kong, retaining its spot from the previous year.

This is then followed by Singapore and Swiss cities Zurich, Geneva and Basel.

Mercer took a look at around 226 cities worldwide to determine the most expensive places and how this can help multinational employers.

New Zealand’s biggest cities, Auckland and Wellington fare well against these global cities, with Auckland coming in at 111 and Wellington at 145.

Unlike our Australian counterparts who were able to break into the top 100 most expensive cities in the world – Brisbane at 89, Melbourne at 73 and the most expensive city in the Pacific, Sydney at 58.

New Caledonia’s capital city, Noumea beat Auckland and Wellington, coming in at 60.

Yvonne Traber, Mercer’s Global Mobility Leader says large cities have been heavily impacted by the cost-of-living crisis, such as rising housing costs, inflation and more.

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Hong Kong and Singapore clocking in the top two spots is due to high rental accommodation costs which then attract a large number of expatriates, thus driving up the cost of goods.

Traber says that the cost-of-living crisis in the Pacific is expected to put pressure on international employees and their decision to stay or enter the country.

The lower cost-of-living in comparison to the rest of the world and the high quality of living has made Auckland rank in 3rd and Wellington in 12th for the 2023 Quality of Living survey.

“Lower cost of living conditions and high quality of living make New Zealand an attractive destination for the international employees of multinational companies,” says Tarber.

To offset any cost-of-living challenges people may face in these costly cities, Traber says employers need to be more aware of the situation and trends and work to adjust peoples needs.

“It is important for organizations to stay informed about cost-of-living trends and inflation rates and seek input from employees on these issues to effectively manage their effects,” she adds.

The most expensive cities in the world

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Singapore
  3. Zurich
  4. Geneva
  5. Basel
  6. Bern
  7. New York
  8. London
  9. Nassau
  10. Los Angeles

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