As an expat living overseas, we all too often find ourselves consumed with thinking about the “next place!”
Where to when this gig expires?
Naturally, it usually comes down to where you can get a decent job; of course you also have to weigh up the costs associated with said job.
If you’re upping stumps to move overseas, you usually want it to be a cost effective exercise not to mention career enhancing and an amazing life experience, right?
Often the company you work for will cough up for living expenses, but that’s not always the case.
So if you’re thinking about where to next or even where to first, RENTCafe came to me with their latest stats on the best rental prices in the world’s so called “Cities of Opportunity!”
(I note Xi’an’s not on the list, but just for the record, while it may not be a city of ‘huge’ opportunity, yet, it sure as hell is cheap as chips!) 😉
This table gives you the top 30 Cities of Opportunity (according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.)
|1. London, GB||11. Seoul, KR||21. Shanghai, CN|
|2. Singapore, SG||12. Berlin, DE||22. Moscow, RU|
|3. Toronto, CA||13. Chicago, US||23. Mexico City, MX|
|4. Paris, FR||14. Los Angeles, US||24. Johannesburg, ZA|
|5. Amsterdam, NL||15. Tokyo, JP||25. São Paulo, BR|
|6. Manhattan (NYC), US||16. Madrid, ES||26. Bogotá, CO|
|7. Stockholm, SE||17. Dubai, AE||27. Rio de Janeiro, BR|
|8. San Francisco, US||18. Milan, IT||28. Jakarta, ID|
|9. Hong Kong, HK||19. Beijing, CN||29. Mumbai, IN|
|10. Sydney, AU||20. Kuala Lumpur, MY||30. Lagos, NG|
But of course, as appealing as most of them are, you won’t be surprised to learn that opportunity comes at a price!
In New York, London, Hong Kong, even Sydney…. buying your own piece of dirt in any one of these glittering global hubs costs an arm and a leg, at the very least! And renting is usually just as hefty on your hip pocket.
Traditionally, housing costs that exceed 30% of the household income have been viewed as a red flag!
Manhattan in New York comes out as the priciest place to rent on the planet and the second least affordable. Sadly all of you Big Apple dreamers (including myself) may need to rethink a stint in the city of dreams, for now! Manhattanites apparently shell out an astounding 59 % of their income on rent.
London, which has been declared the world’s best city to live and work in, is still a tough one with a 40% rent-to-income ratio. No revelations there really. But what is surprising is that Sydney emerges as top choice for renters in search for a more relaxed lifestyle. Not too hard to argue with the harbour city on the relaxed front and heartening to know rent-to-income ration is around 29 % – which is considered acceptable.
So all you ‘eager expats in the making’ or expats who just want to keep on, keeping on, consider coming and joining us Down Under!
And the most affordable city for renters amongst the big guns? Roll our the red carpet for ……**Drum Roll** Kuala Lumpur!
Here in this exhilarating Malaysian capital, rent only takes 20 % of the median household income, giving the skyscraper city a definite place on your list.
Moscow and Johannesburg win the day as the most affordable cities of opportunity…and although Tokyo, Hong Kong and Madrid technically fall into the moderately rent-burdened category, people in these cities still spend less than a third of their income to pay the rent.
Renters in Mexico City, Manhattan and Lagos face severe rent burden, meaning the rent takes up more than half of a household’s income each month (60%, 59% and 57% respectively). In other words, in an average family with two earners, one of them works only to pay the rent, and it’s still not enough.
Renters in Los Angeles also cash out 47%, almost half of their hard-earned dollars on rent each month—and the situation is not that much better in Paris (46%) or Singapore (44%).
For a quick flyby of the most rent-burdened cities of opportunity, check out the video below:
Of course it’s not just about affordability when you’re sounding out the next spot on the map to hang your head, it’s important that quality of life ranks highly, along with safety and healthcare. (Mind you, sometimes you just can’t win ’em all! )
Oh and before you travel the expat path be sure to read the Top 5 Mistakes Expats Make and (most importantly) how to avoid them.
Good luck and Go Get ‘Em!
This is Expat Life.