Cost of Living Differences - Major Capital Cities

In August 2011 UBS completed an update of their "Prices and Earnings" Survey - comparing prices and income levels across a number of major cities in the world. A section of the results are summarised below, and compare the cost of living in the major cities, excluding and including housing costs. More city data is available on the Exfin website.

These figures should only be seen as broadly indicative of price differentials, for the following reasons:

1. They are very dependent upon foreign currency movements - for example, the significant rise in Sydney's position on the table is largely a function of the recent strength of the Australian dollar.

2. These indices are difficult to put together in a constructive, balanced fashion - access to high resolution figures is really available only to large corporations through consultancies. In this context, the basket of commodities used to generate cost of living differentials is crucial.

3. We have some doubts about the accuracy of the housing costs, and more particularly whether they reflect expatriate, rather than local requirements. Expatriates will choose housing with reference to certain amenties and concerns - proximity to schools, (good) hospitals, airports, shopping and security - which invariably lead to (relatively) high housing costs compared to domestic costs. It is hard to relect this accurately in a survey and this comment particularly applies to developing country environments where access to good quality housing in the "right" locations can be difficult and prices quite extraordinary as a result.

 

 

Costs
not Including
Rent
Costs
including
Rent
Oslo
29.88%
22.22%
Zurich
26.05%
18.41%
Geneva
24.28%
19.53%
Copenhagen
10.55%
0.34%
Stockholm
9.71%
-0.67%
Tokyo
5.14%
5.72%
Sydney
0.00%
0.00%
Helsinki 
-3.36%
-8.53%
Toronto
-4.01%
-7.86%
Singapore
-4.39%
-0.90%
Vienna
-4.76%
-15.60%
Paris
-5.79%
-7.07%
Luxembourg 
-6.54%
-13.47%
New York 
-6.63%
12.23%
London 
-6.82%
-7.41%
Munich
-6.91%
-15.82%
Montreal
-7.19%
-12.91%
Dublin 
-10.64%
-11.56%
Brussels
-12.89%
-16.39%
Rome 
-13.35%
-16.50%
Lyon 
-13.91%
-24.58%
Auckland 
-14.38%
-18.07%
Dubai 
-16.25%
-7.18%
Istanbul
-16.43%
-20.31%
Amsterdam 
-17.65%
-23.23%
Madrid 
-17.74%
-22.90%
Los Angeles 
-17.74%
-18.41%
Milan
-21.10%
-22.67%
Seoul 
-21.10%
-23.23%
Chicago 
-23.16%
-18.86%
Hong Kong 
-23.16%
-14.14%
Athens 
-25.21%
-32.55%
Miami 
-26.42%
-22.33%
Moscow 
-28.57%
-22.11%
Johannesburg
-31.00%
-38.27%
Taipei 
-31.65%
-35.69%
Bangkok 
-32.40%
-43.32%
Warsaw
-33.05%
-38.83%
Caracas 
-33.43%
-32.66%
Budapest 
-33.80%
-38.83%
Shanghai
-35.01%
-40.40%
Ljubljana 
-35.29%
-41.75%
Jakarta 
-35.67%
-39.62%
Prague 
-36.13%
-41.75%
Doha 
-39.96%
-33.56%
Tallinn 
-40.43%
-48.48%
Bogotá
-40.52%
-44.78%
Beijing
-41.83%
-48.15%
Santiago de Chile 
-42.20%
-48.71%
Manama 
-44.44%
-45.34%
Sofia
-45.00%
-50.51%
Mexico City 
-45.28%
-50.28%
Kuala Lumpur
-50.61%
-59.03%
Buenos Aires
-51.07%
-56.79%
Cairo 
-52.85%
-60.04%
Nairobi
-52.94%
-56.79%
Delhi
-54.25%
-58.92%
Manila 
-57.70%
-62.85%
Mumbai
-62.46%
-63.52%