For the second year in a row, Vancouver has claimed the top spot in Mercer’s 2014 list of the most expensive Canadian cities to live in. According to the company’s Cost of Living Survey, Toronto is the second most expensive city, followed by Montreal and Calgary.
On a larger scale, Canadian cities have plummeted down the global list in this year’s ranking when compared with other cities. This is partly due to the weakened Canadian dollar and stalled price increases. Vancouver fell 32 places since last year, bringing its ranking to 96. Toronto fell 33 spots and stood at 101, while Montreal fell 28 spots to 123 and Calgary ranked in at 125.
Mercer’s annual survey ranks the most expensive cities for expatriates, measuring the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location. These items include housing, food, transportation, clothing and entertainment.
For the second year running, Luanda in Angola was found to be the most expensive city in the world, followed by N’Djamena, Chad. European and Asian cities dominate as the costliest cities with Hong Kong in third place followed by Singapore. Zurich rose three spots to rank fifth while Geneva took sixth. Tokyo, ranked third last year, dropped four spots to seventh.
Ed Hannibal, a partner for Mercer’s mobility practice, commented on the list to the Canadian Press by saying, “Rankings in many regions were affected by recent world events, including economic and political upheavals, which resulted in currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and volatility in accommodation prices.”
In regard to the top two, Hannibal said, “While Luanda and N’Djamena are relatively inexpensive cities, they are quite costly for expatriates since imported goods come at a premium. In addition, finding secure living accommodations that meet the standards of expatriates can be challenging and quite costly as well.”
Rounding out the top ten were Bern, Moscow and Shanghai. Tel Aviv continues to be the most expensive city in the Middle East, followed by Beirut, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
In the United States, cities have climbed in the ranking due to the relative stability of the U.S. dollar against other major currencies. A rise in the rental market catapulted New York eight places to rank in at 16, the highest-ranked city in the country.
On the other side of the coin, Karachi is the world’s least expensive city for expatriates.