The Most Expensive Cities in Asia Pacific 2024


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In the dynamic world of international professional life, navigating living costs is crucial. In Asia Pacific where the blend of booming economies and sprawling cities makes for an intriguing cost-of-living landscape Japan, Australia and New Zealand cities are moving up the rankings.

Hong Kong and Singapore Most Costly

Leading the pack, Hong Kong clinches the title as the priciest city for international expat professionals in Asia Pacific, sporting a Cost-of-Living Index (COLI) of 116.5. Singapore trails closely with a COLI of 115.3, both towering over New York's benchmark index of 100. The hefty price tag of living in these cities primarily stems from housing costs, gobbling up about 30% of an expat's budget. With space at a premium and high earners flocking, it's no wonder costs are sky-high.

Sydney Third Most Expensive City

Sydney has leapfrogged Ashgabat and Shanghai into third place with a COLI of 98, indicating dynamic shifts within the region. Sydney's ascent reflects a broader trend across Australia and New Zealand, where living costs have surged due to factors like high wages, steep taxes, and a competitive housing market.

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Japan Upward Trend

Japan, too, is feeling the squeeze. With inflation peaking at 3.1% in 2023, the highest since 1991, and the yen dipping to a 53-year low against the dollar, the cost of everything from groceries to utilities has climbed. Despite these pressures, Japanese cities are still about 25% cheaper than New York, offering some solace in the cost-of-living crunch.

Wellington and Auckland

Wellington deserves a special mention, ranking sixth in the Asia Pacific. This climb reflects New Zealand's economic realities, from high minimum wages to robust demand for resources, amplifying the cost pressures for expats. Alongside Wellington, Auckland and Canberra have also made their mark, highlighting the widespread nature of the cost-of-living ascent in the region.

The Top Ten Rundown

To sum up, the most expensive cities in Asia Pacific for 2024 are a mix of the usual suspects and some new faces. Here's a quick list to keep handy:

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Singapore
  3. Sydney
  4. Ashgabat
  5. Shanghai
  6. Wellington
  7. Auckland
  8. Canberra
  9. Macao
  10. Seoul

Each of these cities tells a story of economic dynamics, housing markets, and expatriate life, underscoring the complex interplay between costs and living standards. For expats navigating these waters, understanding the nuances of each location's cost profile is key to managing life abroad. Whether it's the towering skylines of Hong Kong and Singapore or the scenic vistas of Sydney and Wellington, the Asia Pacific region continues to be an exciting, albeit pricey, stage for the global expatriate community.

Use Xpatulator’s Cost of Living Calculators and Tools for informed decision-making about the cost of living and the salary / allowance / assignment package required to maintain the current standard of living.