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Copenhagen view

The 10 most expensive cities in the world to live in – 2014. London tops the list, but other results may surprise you!

That London tops the list of the world’s most expensive cities to live in should come as no surprise, especially to its residents or to anyone who has visited recently. But what about obvious competitors like Hong Kong, New York or Tokyo? How do the world’ priciest metropolises stack up? We walk you through the most expensive places to live in the world.

10: Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen view

Copenhagen isn’t a cheap place to go shopping; the most enthusiastic of Dannebrog-wavers would have to admit that, with a pair of jeans costing over €100 and a 330ml can of fizz setting you back over €3! The upsides? Utilities are on the low side, and the average take-home pay after tax is €2,500 a month. And the view might just be worth it…

9: San Francisco, California, USA

san francisco

San Francisco’s hills and ocean views have made it a tourist attraction for generations of Americans as well as a final destination for those heading West in search of their own American dreams. But all that Pacific sunlight and crashing breakers come at a price: a bottle of table wine here will cost you as much as €15, but it’s San Fran’s sky-high rents that really hit home. A 3-room apartment will run €3,300 a month, though there’s a lively market, so plenty of people think it’s worth it!

8: Paris, France


Paris is a romantic’s paradise and between the museums and the sights, the relics of history and the opportunities for great honeymoon memories, there’s pressure on Parisian property at every level, pushing prices high. A 3-room city-centre apartment costs about €2,500, though restaurants and wine are predictably cheap, with the latter about €6.00 for an average bottle.

7: Singapore, Singapore


Singapore is one of the world’s great success stories, a city-state in South-East Asia that’s a regional powerhouse. The price for that is escalating costs of living within the city; residence there is desirable and there’s money to be made, meaning it’s an expensive place to live. While prices are high generally – a pair of jeans is about €70.00 – it’s property and, especially, cars that punish the Singaporean wallet. A new VW Golf is €80,000 in Singapore!

6: Lausanne, Switzerland


Switzerland is the world’s bank, and the country’s glittering mountains are the traditional playground of Europeans who’ve made it. As a result, it’s never been a cheap country to live in. But the prices in Lausanne might make even the Swiss raise their eyebrows, with a pair of ordinary shoes costing over €120. Locals can afford it, though; they’re making an average €4,500 a month after tax!

5: New York, New York, USA


So good they named it twice – and charged for both times, judging by some of the Big Apple’s prices. Another big visitor draw with a vibrant local life of its own, New York has some lower-cost options, but some essentials like transport are inescapably pricey, costing around €80 a month for a subway pass, and a city-centre 3-bed apartment is €3, 500 a month to rent, or €6,500 a square metre if you’re buying!

4: Zurich, Switzerland


The Swiss make their second appearance on this list with Zurich, a popular spot for international business meetings. Hope that you too will be on expenses, with a meal for two costing €100 and a bottle of average wine €14! It’s those who want to make Zurich their home who face the sharpest shock: rents are out of step with prices, with a city centre 3-bed apartment costing €3,500 a month to rent – but €12,600 a square metre to buy!

3: Geneva, Switzerland


Geneva has a great university, museums and nightlife. It also has prices that will make the most hardened dream-home window-shopper sit up and take notice; a kilo of chicken breast costs about €25, a cinema ticket €14, a pair of jeans €100. And if you need somewhere to sit down and catch your breath after considering that, watch out: property is Geneva’s most expensive commodity, with city centre apartments running €1,500 for a one-room flat!

2: Oslo, Norway


Norway combines the Scandinavian penchant for generous welfare and high taxation with oil wealth that’s given the country the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund and an average take-home pay after tax of €54, 000; it’s as if the Saudis were socialists. Suffice to say, prices are high. And they’re especially high for eating out and drinking out. A meal for 2? €95. A pair of shoes? €150. Property prices are slightly lower than the cost of consumer goods would suggest, though – Oslo apartments are about €6,000 a square metre to buy but noticeably lower to rent, about €2, 100 a month for a city-centre 3-bed apartment.

1: London, England


Watch your money go up in the Big Smoke. While London can be a costly place to buy consumer goods, it’s transport that’s the number two reason for holes in Londoners’ pockets. A monthly pass for the city’s public transport net costs over €150 and is set to rise; a taxi costs €4.00 before you even go anywhere, and a pint of beer can set you back €3.00 at least.

The greatest contribution to London’s position as the priciest city in the world to live, though, is the price of London property. The city suffers from a housing shortage, a booming luxury property market and active market generally helps to push prices up and while supply is fairly static, demand comes from all over the world. As a result, London property costs about €10,000 per square metre to buy in the city centre, easily leading the world!

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Images: WikiMedia

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Vancouver Canada is the best place in the world to live. This is according to the top 10 chart of the world’s most liveable cities revealed by the Economist Intelligence Unit. This is the fifth straight year that Vancouver, with its world class services and facilities has topped the chart. This time the report put its victory in part to the massive infrastructure boost the city received as host of the Winter Olympics 2010.

Vancouver City, Canada at Twilight

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Emerging markets are by far the best place in the world for expats to live according to the latest HSBC Expat Economics report for 2010, which compares expats’ wealth. The report compares the number of expats earning over $200,000 per year, the number with disposable income of more than $3000 per month, the number who have increased savings since moving to a different country, and the number of expats with 2 or more luxury items in their current country of residence.

As you can see below, the top 10 is dominated by emerging markets, though surprisingly China only just scraped into the top 10.


The clearest findings of the report are in the section titled “Wealth Continues to Move East”. That — as we can see from the table above – Russia and Eastern Destinations are leading the way in expat wealth.

Russia held the top spot 2 years running, it’s top spot last year was especially noteworthy, because Mercer’s also found that Russia had the highest living costs in the world.

This year, 36% of expats living in Russia are earning over $250,000 per year, followed by Singapore with 32%, then Bermuda with 27%.

This is compared to the global average of 13% of expats earning above that amount. And compared to the bottom four: Spain, where 62% of expats earn less than $60,000 per year, as do 47% of expats living in France and the Netherlands, and 45% of expats living in Germany.

Those established markets will not be proud of their position in the bottom half of the table along with South Africa, although the positions are well deserved; the global average for expats earning less than $60k is 26%.

However, to be fair, we must remember that this is a table concerning expat wealth, and is therefore more a reflection of the different reasons for immigrating to these countries than the emerging markets covered above.

While the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have hardly dominated the top 10, their performance has still been impressive, in fact, according to HSBC they are still the world’s emerging market hotspots. Of expats around the world, 64% have reported increased career opportunities since emigrating, compared to 82% in Russia, and 70% in India and China.

The United Kingdom is in the bottom quarter of the table, with a very poor performance, so, it looks like we all better get packing for decent earnings and job opportunities.

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The latest profile of international activity in the US housing market published by the National Association of Realtors has revealed many interesting figures, some surprising and some not so surprising.

The biggest finding for us was in the state by state breakdown of foreign purchases. According to the report, Florida (22%), California (12%), Arizona (11%) and Texas (7%) dominated in terms of the percentages of sales to foreigners this year.

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More and more Brits seem to be turning their backs on owning second homes abroad and are now buying in the UK. Estate agents, Savills claim that there has been a sharp growth in the sales and demand of second homes in the UK due to a weaker sterling and the availability of more affordable UK properties. According to data to be release by Savills later this week, second homes’ sales worth £500,000 and above grew by 40 per cent in the last three months of 2009 compared to the three-year average. This compares with an uplift of just 10 per cent in total prime regional transactions.

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A summary of the findings of this index are as follows:

  • House prices increased in nearly half of the reporting countries, suggesting a possible recovery may be on the horizon
  • The quarterly drop in house prices worsened in fewer than 25% of these locations
  • Israel is the top performer from 2Q 2008 to 2Q 2009, with an annual increase in house prices of 12.5%
  • Taken quarterly, Norway saw the largest increase from Q1 2009 of 5.3%
  • Dubai was the biggest loser over the year, dropping 47%, and was second worst on a quarterly basis, losing 7.5% from Q1 2009

Liam Bailey, head of residential research for Knight Frank has assessed the data and takes the following from it:

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First published with a UK property focus back in 1975,  “Money into Property” is DTZ’s longest running annual report on the size and flow of real estate capital markets. Over time, Money into Property’s coverage has expanded into the broader European market, as well as the Americas and Asia Pacific. In 2009’s edition, Money into Property incorporated 24 countries in Europe, 11 countries in Asia Pacific and 4 in the Americas.

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Bogota City, Colombia

This report analyzes data provided by Colombia’s Central Bank (El Banco de la Republica) as well as information taken from the DANE (Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadisticas), Colombia’s Superintendencia Financiera, and the DNP (Departamento Nacional de Planeacion).

We hope to provide a realistic picture on the Colombian real estate market and it’s potential for growth in both the short term as well as the long term level.