The 2017 Economist Intelligence Unit recently released its yearly ranking of the world’s ten most expensive cities that only the rich could afford to live in. The survey was done considering 400 individual prices that are set across 160 products and services in 133 cities in the world. The survey concluded, for the third time in row, that the Hong Kong has topped the list in the past seven years, since it was first introduced to the survey.
The survey found out that subdivided flats that are less than 100 square feet can cost as much as $385 in the city. Sydney, Vancouver and Hong Kong might be oppositely situated on the globe but they have one thing in common: They are the most unaffordable cities in the world and only the rich could afford to live there comfortably.
To gauge the affordability of a city, the demographic report will score the housing markets by using the median multiple principle, this method calculates the median house price which will be divided by the gross annual median household income to be able to come up with the affordability index. These 15 cities ranked high in unaffordability making them the top most expensive cities that only the rich can live in.
15. London, UK
London paints a picture of royalty, meaning it’s prone to being expensive. If you think New York is expensive, you better visit England’s capital, London. Everything is expensive in this city, from food to housing to accommodation, the factors that have contributed to this high cost of living are that the local economy is dominated by finance and a wide variety of well-paying jobs, making a huge proportion of the population extremely well paid. This has caused an influx in the prices of the homes. There’s also very little physical space in the city, meaning there’s little room for expansion, meaning there is less development in housing, creating a demand. All these factors contribute on a very large scale in making London one of the most expensive cities in the world. You will just have to be extremely wealthy to live lavishly here.
14. Paris, France
Everyone wants to visit Paris. It’s a city that’s on everyone’s bucket list and the sad part about this story is that it’s one of the most expensive cities in Europe. The housing market is terrible and the rents are high in the sky. It’s a wallet melter for sure, but still, it’s one of the best places on earth. Some blame this on the city’s plentiful bars, restaurants and attractions. you definitely have to spend a fortune to get the best out of this city, but it’s worse when you decide you want to live in it. If you are the kind of person who travels on a budget, then you might need to add some extra coins in your purse to have the very best of this city.
13. Geneva, Switzerland
Well, it’s not news, but a cup of coffee in Geneva costs around $4.48. That’s how expensive it is to live in this city. A chicken, bacon, egg and lettuce sandwich cost a staggering $19.46. You don’t want to know what it costs in a 5-star hotel (probably around $25.50). You will have been staggeringly wealthy to be able to afford that lifestyle let alone pay rent or own a home in Geneva. Fancied for its authenticity, watchmakers and designers, this is one city you don’t want to visit on a budget. Everything from housing to food is highly priced, and for the average worker, this is hell on earth. Geneva is one city that will never be missing from this list.
12. Zurich, Switzerland
It’s a no-brainer that supply and demand are what determines the prices everywhere in the world. Some of the reasons why Zurich is such an expensive city to live include its ineffective farming. It also has very limited land for housing projects causing its already present housing infrastructure to skyrocket, and according to the law, the authorities are putting great pressure on landowners not to sell their land for housing projects. Therefore, when there is limited supply, the prices tend to get high. If you are looking to relocate to Zurich you better have extra change to spare!
11. Dubai, UAE
Dubai has always been ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world. Tourism experts say that most tourists are traveling to the nearby emirates to avoid the costs of hotels. Dubai is the fastest growing city in the world and has the largest number of expatriates. You will be able to find all your fancy shops and hotels in Dubai, but the city in the desert is just one of the places in the world you don’t want to travel on a budget. Its exclusive Palm islands are one of the biggest real estate marvels of the 21 century, and trust me when I tell you, you have to be super rich to own property here.
10. Bournemouth & Dorset, UK
This is a city that has always been on this list. It’s always been expensive to live in Bournemouth and Dorset, and on the latest survey it was ranked at the 10th most expensive city to live in the world. This city is known as the tiny millionaire’s playground for a reason, and it’s because the standards of living are very high. Its coastline is the most expensive place to buy a home in England. The properties that are close to the sea are approximated to be valued around $393,000, meaning you will have to be very well off to own property there!
9. San Francisco, CA, US
This American city came in ninth on the list of the most expensive cities to live in the world. Its median house price when divided by the median household income was calculated at 9.2 which means you have to be rich to own a home in San Fran. Therefore, if you are planning to go to San Francisco you better forget about the flowers in the hair, and think about having some spare change. You’ll need it. If you plan to own a car, the prices might not be too friendly. If you work in the popular neighborhoods like Chinatown or Downtown the parking charges are about $20 per day, and up to $200 a month.
8. Los Angeles, CA, US
Los Angeles has often been described as the greatest city in the world. You’ll never have enough of the tacos, the pretty people, the fine culture and the beaches among the many other sites and sounds the city has to offer. I hope you get the picture. However, Los Angeles has the least affordable housing in all of the US. You will need to be wealthy to afford the median priced housing that goes for around $640,000. Due to this, Los Angeles is quickly losing its residents due to the high standards of living. There aren’t enough people moving in either to compensate for the exodus. Therefore, if you want to comfortably live in the greatest city in the world, you’ll first have to acquire the wealthy tag.
7. Honolulu, Hawaii
Well, if you have ever been to Honolulu or heard of its description, then you know it’s a paradise, and you don’t expect paradise to be cheap, do you? Well, it isn’t! Everything on this honeymooner’s paradise is expensive, from the cable to the gas that you’ll have to pay close to $5 per gallon for. Owning a home in Honolulu is a dream only the rich can achieve. Honolulu, the capital city of Hawaii, was reclassified as a major market, and scored a median multiple of 9.4, making it one of the most unaffordable cities to live in the world. Planning a vacation in Honolulu? Better give yourself a few years just to be safe!
6. Melbourne, Australia
Well, yet again, another Australian city tops the lists of the world’s most expensive cities to live. This city has an area of 36 square kilometers and has a population of 4 million people as of 2015. This city has a median score of 9, meaning it’s not your average city to live in; you must be wealthy to enjoy the lavish lifestyle in this Australian metropolis. If you are looking to go check out some cute cuddly Koala bears in Australia, better get ready in case you pass by Melbourne. While this city is a little bit cheaper as compared to Hong Kong, it’s still quite expensive for the average person.
5. San Jose, CA, US
Its neighbors in San Francisco may have the highest rents compared to all the cities in the US, however San Jose has one of the highest median prices for a single family home which retails at around $900,000. Since it’s part of the bay area, it’s quite a nice place for anyone to live, but that’s if you can afford it! This city is tailored for the rich. So why is this city expensive? Well, most people place their blame on the prosperous job market and the economy. The area has experienced a rapid increase in employment rates making it one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States.
4. Auckland, New Zealand
Well, in this year’s survey, this city ranked high as the fourth most unaffordable place to live in the world. This city is based around two main large harbors, and is a major city in New Zealand’s North Island. Auckland is famous for its Auckland Domain park and the iconic Sky Towers that has views of the viaduct Harbor. You’ll have to be extremely rich to enjoy all the luxuries of this city as it scored a median of 10, meaning its housing markets are among the highest in the world. If you are thinking about traveling to Auckland, best be warned, you won’t be able to bring too many souvenirs back home.
3. Vancouver, Canada
It’s the west coast seaport in Canada and British Columbia, and it is known as one of Canada’s most densely populated and ethnically diverse cities. This makes it a haven for art, music and theater. Don’t be fooled by its welcoming notations though, this city is the third most expensive city to live in the world. Most of the people who enjoy Vancouver are probably rich, the housing markets have skyrocketed making it a haven for wealthy people. If you are looking for a city life on a budget, this art-filled city is not a place you want to test out, since you could end up literally paying millions for a very average looking home.
2. Sydney, Australia
Ever been to the smallest continent in the world? Well the second most expensive city in the world is in Australia, the median multiple is 12:2 meaning it’s damn expensive to live out there. Australia as a continent is known for its famous Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, Kangaroos, Koala bears and the duck-billed Sydney is the capital city of New South Wales that is one of Australia’s largest territories. Its population is mapped at 4.3 million. So next time you are planning a trip down to Australia to visit its vast wildlife habitat, if you are not rich, better carry a few extra bucks to survive.
1. Hong Kong, China
This city has been ranked for 7 years in a row to be the most expensive city in the world, and part of this is because it has the least affordable housing market that has a median multiple of 18:1. This compared to last year is the worst ever ranking to be recorded in the world. The high standards of living in this Asian city have made it hard for the normal working man to afford to live there and so far, only the rich can comfortably live in the city of Hong Kong and enjoy it. If you are a budget traveler and you are planning a trip to Hong Kong, you better budget a little higher than you expected, since this is the most expensive city in the world!
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