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Hong Kong most expensive location for expat accommodation

Christian Fernsby |
Hong Kong has been named the most expensive location in the world for expat accommodation for a fourth year in a row, but still saw rental costs drop considerably due to the effects of COVID-19.

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This was one of the findings of the latest research published by ECA International, the world's leading provider of knowledge, information and software for the management and assignment of employees around the world.

The average monthly rental price for an unfurnished, mid-market, three-bedroom apartment in areas commonly inhabited by international executives in Hong Kong was USD 10 769, a drop of 5.95% compared to 2020.

ECA International has been conducting research into accommodation costs for international executives for more than 20 years to help companies provide the right housing options as part of the overall compensation package for mobile employees. The research compares rental costs in accommodation in areas typically inhabited by expatriate staff in over 360 locations worldwide.

Cities in Taiwan all rose in the rankings this year, as rental markets saw an increase – especially Taipei which climbed 20 places to 29th most expensive location worldwide.

Meanwhile, Singapore fell one spot in the rankings to 26th position globally, as rents fell by an average of over 2%. The average monthly rent in Singapore is now USD 4 210 (SGD 5 747).

Locations reliant on international tourism have seen their rental markets hit especially hard during the pandemic, resulting in some major drops in the rankings. Bangkok has fallen 19 places to 49th, while Hanoi saw a similar drop of 12 places to 81st.

European rental markets remained relatively stable for now, with London the highest ranked European city in 4th position globally.

In a similar trend to many Asian locations, Australian cities saw big drops in the rankings. Sydney, the highest placed Australian city in the rankings and only Australian location to feature in the global top 50, fell 10 places to 46th. The average expatriate rent in Sydney is now USD 3 553, down over 2.5% from last year.

Istanbul saw one of the biggest falls this year and dropped 60 places in the global ranking. The Turkish city is now the 116th most expensive city in the world to rent in. Costing USD 2 441 per month, it has seen a 30% decrease from 2020.


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