25 Most Expensive Cities To Live In

Posted by on December 17, 2012

Before reading through this list, keep in mind that determining the most expensive city in the world is not as objective a task as it may seem. There are a number of factors to account for including exchange rates, price levels, lifestyle, and more. For the purposes of this list and so that me might keep things consistent we decided to focus on the cities that would be most expensive for a foreigner to move to and still maintain their current lifestyle (this is why you see cities like Kinshasa in the rankings). So, according to the factors we considered, these are the 25 most expensive cities to live in.


London, United Kingdom

London, United KingdomImage SourceHaving been rated as the world’s most expensive city to visit for 24 hours it should come as no surprise that London would be on this list somewhere. What may be surprising to some of you, however, is that there are at least 24 cities even more expensive.


Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane, AustraliaAlthough it is not Australia’s most expensive city it does arguably have one of the world’s most expensive public transportation systems (trailing only London and Oslo)

Canberra, Australia

Canberra, AustraliaMoving from one Australian city to another this time we’re in the capital of the land down under. In spite of its elevated cost of living, however, Canberra enjoys the highest standard of life in Australia.

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, South KoreaAlthough currency fluctuations have led to Seoul becoming slightly cheaper in recent years it is still ranking on our list of expensive cities.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, DenmarkAccording to a survey conducted several years ago by UBS, employees in Copenhagen had the highest income of any other city in the world. Of course prices are elevated as well. To give you an idea renting a DVD would cost around $8 while a one way tram ticket can be over $3.

Sydney, Australia

Sydney, AustraliaAn important Australian industrial center, purchasing power in Sydney is the second highest in the world second only to Zurich.

New York City, United States

New York City, U.S.It’s the only American city on our list and although a weaker dollar moved the big apple down a few slots average monthly rent is still up there at $2,600 for a two bedroom apartment.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin, GermanyWith electrical engineering and motor vehicle manufacturing at its core, companies like Siemens call Berlin home. The best way to understand why Berlin is on this list though is to take a look at gas prices. These days they hover somewhere around $7 per gallon.

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels, BelgiumAt the center of the European Union Brussels is home to numerous political organizations and banks. Similar to Berlin its gas prices are upwards of $7 per gallon.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, AustriaWith a per capita GDP nearly 180 percent of of the European Union average Vienna has been referred to as having the highest standard of living in the world.

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the CongoAs a capital city of 8 million people prices here can be steep and a 2 bedroom apartment can cost expats upwards of $2500.

Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem, IsraelAlthough Jerusalem enjoys a relatively high standard of living it is still one of the poorest in the country and several initiatives have been put in place to attract more tourists and visitors.

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, SwedenThe capital and most populous city in Sweden, Stockholm is headquarters to numerous international companies like Ericcson and Electrolux. Although the economy took a slight beating during the recession the appreciation of the Swedish krona pushed the city back onto our list.

Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv, IsraelHome to numerous high tech start ups Tel Aviv is Israel’s most expensive city and although it can be a bit pricey to live here rent is a little more forgiving than other cities on this list with a three bedroom apartment going for less than $1,500.

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Abidjan, Côte d'IvoireAbidjan is the primary port in the country and although political unrest caused the standard of living to drop foreign investment kept the economy afloat.
David Pegg


After helping found the United Nations, the United States, and United Airlines, David consigned himself to a transient life of writing lists and sleeping on park benches.

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  • Elle

    This list is wrong because Vancouver is the most expensive in North America so Newyork should not be on the list.

  • Richie

    Where is panama, panama city is at least top 10 but its not on your 25.


    Israel is really pricey to live in and most tourists can’t afford to stay here in 5 star hotels or travel all around. Many people stay in hostels in low-income neighbourhood or somewhere far away from downtown.

  • Someone

    That is not true, Jerusalem has one of the best living standards, Most of the population lives in Malibu houses, condos or historical buildings.

  • Sagar

    I’m so happy! NO Canadian cities on the list. Proud to be Canadian.

    • Elle

      lol you clearly do not live in Vancouver

  • AJ

    Try renting a 2 bhk in mumbai and its on par with tokyo.

  • Your Real Name

    Why isn’t Hong Kong on the list?!!

  • Gavin

    That is not Canberra. It’s Sydney. Research, people, research!

  • Homeless in Nantucket

    Nantucket is not on the list. Every single thing has to be flown or shipped by boat. Diesel in 2008 was $5.85 a gallon. To go eat a decent meal for two people with a couple of drinks and an appetizer will cost $85-$100 before tip. Try to find a 1 or 2 bedroom place for less than $2000 per month if you can find one at all.

  • Carole

    You can’t find a decent 2 bedroom apt in Manhattan, NYC, for under 5.5 k per month!

  • kaushik

    it’s good to know about this

  • Grace

    You guys are missing Hong Kong for sure…most people don’t even own their apartments, they have to rent cause its so expensive for a tiny 2 bedroom apartment.

  • Jo


    • Alex

      I have lived in Dubai for a couple of years. Although the rent can be a bit high in some areas, everything else is MUCH cheaper than most of the cities on the list. If you live in Dubai and have a good salary try to stay there for as long as you can!

  • olivier

    I reside in abidjan a few years ago ,and this city look more like a European city.wonderful country.

  • alex

    ditto in Hong Kong.. I live in a great area in London, high paid etc, and in hong kong i’m poor

  • Ariel

    what the! Hong Kong is the most expensive place to live in in terms of rental prices! i had to pay 3.5k for a studio apartment! if i want to rent a 2 bedroom apartment, i have to pay 4-5k!

    normal food is 8-30 dollars in the city!

  • alice

    hey is hong kong on here? because living in an apartment is pricey, and im talking about your foot. that size for an apartment is about 9000 hong kong dollars. just a foot size like that is worth 9000 dollar

  • Nigger-Sushi

    Honolulu, Hawaii is nowhere on this list. WTF!?!?!

    • jew-pussi

      honaloulou isn’t so bad compared with a lot of places

  • Wayne Mansfield

    Your article is good but you have a picture of Sydney for Canberra… are all the other photos and graphics correct / incorect too??

  • Terra

    Where is Singapore in this list?!

    • Han

      Singapore is not a really expensive place to live. Maybe it is but its not on top25 in the world, its maybe in the top100

      • Ariel

        yea! Singapore is not expensive at all. I’ve been to UK, France, Hong Kong etc.
        lots of foreigners find Singapore inexpensive! there is huge variety of cuisines available. probably the most diverse place ever. the only thing that is expensive is ALCOHOL & Cigarettes & Cars (road tax).