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In Pictures: Most expensive expat rents 2011

Which world cities cost the most to rent a flat in? And where do our local cities fit in the ranking?

February 16, 2011 2:11 by

  • Human resources consultants ECA International has just released its 2011 Accommodation report, which ranks 120 cities across the world according to the average price of renting a two bedroom flat in each city in US dollars. The point? Well, we suppose it’s to help expats looking at their next posting. And it helps Kipp, as it fills out our feature for the day: We can present to you the top 10 most expensive cities for expat rents. (We don’t have the average rents though, they tried to charge us for those – the cheek!)

    At 10, the second biggest city in Switzerland, home to loads of bankers and EU political types. The UN and red Cross are both headquartered here, meaning the place is full of diplomats.

    What’s at 9? Well, this ‘golden’ city was established by the Spanish at the ‘gate’ way from a famous bay to the Pacific Ocean. It has the motto “Gold in Peace, Iron in War.” Where is it?

  • Yeah okay, the Golden Gate reference was poor, but Kipp is tired today and looking forward to the long weekend. San Fran presumably gets its costliness from the fact it’s the 12 biggest city in the states, but the 2nd most densely populated.

    What’s at 8, you ask. How should we know? Oh yeah that’s right, we wrote this thing. At 8 is a capital city, still in the Americas, this time South instead of North. It’s the third highest capital city in the world… any ideas?

  • Bingo, you guessed it. The capital of Colombia is one of the biggest cities in the world, with a population of 7,304,384 as of 2009. It’s that 384 that makes all the difference, thinks Kipp. If they left it might get a whole lot cheaper.

    Ah, lucky number 7. Where could you be, with all your islands, your fancy grand prix track, revamped corniche, and money (richest city in the world, according to Fortune).

  • Oh okay, so the corniche bit made it too easy. But you knew it would be in here somewhere. Despite increasing property supply and falling prices, Abu Dhabi remains a pricey place to be an expat. But we’re guessing most of them can afford it, with an average GDP per capital of $63,000.

    Back to Latin America for the next one, close to the Caribbean. And we can’t think of anything else to say, which is shaming really as Kipp’s dad was born in this country…

  • The capital and largest city in Venezuela became an economic center thanks to the country’s oil wealth and its location – it was handy for travel between Europe and South America. Living costs have been pushed up by rural Venezuelans heading to the city in search of better fortunes.

    Number 5 you are bound to get. Bound to. Because this one isn’t really a city at all, it’s an island country, and one of the global financial centers of the world. No? Come on people! Think east…

  • Ah yes, that gave it away. Singapore is the world’s fourth leading financial centre, and is a key trading hub. That kind of business, combined with a modern and cosmopolitan outlook, attracts immigrants from all over Asia – and the rest of the world, come to that. With 5 million inhabitants and all that cash flying about, prices are high.

    Well, that’s one financial centre off the list. Can anyone think of another one? No, not that one. Yes, that one. Number 4 most expensive place to rent is…

  • You all know about London. Financial centre, global hub, most visited city in the world, HQ for hundreds of major companies, busiest airspace in the world, largest metropolitan area in the EU (12 million people). No wonder flats cost an arm and a leg. Kipp’s been there plenty, and it’s probably not worth the money.

    From West back to East now. And if we’ve already done Singapore, what does that leave? If you need a clue, its Chinese, but not really.

  • Hong Kong is Chinese, of course, but the reason Kipp says not really is because until the late 20th century it was a colony of the British. Under their control, it became a bridge between east and west, and a mega financial centre thanks to economic freedoms you don’t find elsewhere in the region. Its small and densely populated, which is why a flat will cost you ad arm and a leg.

    We’ve been east, west, and even to America. What are we missing? Something bear-shaped, Kipp thinks.

  • Russia’s capital has more than 10 million inhabitants, and generates 24 percent of the whole country’s GDP. And Russia is a big country. With a low unemployment rate and an ongoing economic boom, real estate prices are rocketing, and that means rents are, too.

    So, we’re there. The number one. The top dog (or bottom, depending how you look at it). The most expensive city in which to rent your average flat in the world is…

  • If you’ve ever read one of these lists before you must have known that was coming. The Tokyo area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world, with almost 40 million inhabitants, and Tokyo is one of the big three city economies (alongside London and New York). That combination of money and numbers means renting here is more expensive than anywhere else on earth.

    But where was Dubai on the list? Well, we’ll show you…


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