Mumbai costliest city to live for expatriates in India: Mercer Report

Hong Kong retained the top position as the costliest city for expats globally

CST Mumbai

CST Mumbai (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Raghav Aggarwal New Delhi

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For the second year in a row, Mumbai emerged as the most expensive Indian city to live for expatriates, a new report showed on Wednesday. Mumbai and Delhi were among the top 35 most expensive cities in Asia for expatriates.

According to Mercer's 2023 Cost of Living survey, Mumbai has witnessed an increase of 13 to 15 per cent in rental prices in 2023 as compared to 2022. This was the highest among all other cities surveyed for the report.

In Bangalore, New Delhi, Pune, and Chennai, housing rentals rose five to seven per cent. In Hyderabad and Kolkata, the rents rose a modest two to three per cent. Notably, Kolkata had the lowest cost of living for expatriates in India.

The survey was based on an analysis of 227 cities across five continents. Hong Kong retained its spot as the most expensive city to live as an expat. It was followed by Singapore and Zurich.

The least expensive was Cuba's Havana. It was followed by Pakistan's Karachi and Islamabad.

Almost all the Indian cities surveyed showed a rise in the cost of living. It is mainly due to a rise in rents and the cost of essential commodities like fruits, vegetables, and milk.

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Rahul Sharma, India mobility leader at Mercer said, "We have observed a change in the relative positioning of Indian cities in the global ranking, which can be attributed to multiple factors. In particular, the shifting order is partly influenced by currency volatility and the inflationary increase in prices of goods and services in other regions, such as Europe, that has played a role in pushing down the overall rankings of Indian cities."

The cost of essential food items at home, including fruits, vegetables, milk, and dairy products, has risen across all cities, with Kolkata and Pune being the most budget-friendly options. Meanwhile, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad have experienced an increase in alcohol prices, with Chennai having the highest prices in this category. Personal care expenses have increased in all cities, with Mumbai being the most expensive and Kolkata offering more affordable options.

Additionally, utilities such as electricity and internet/broadband have seen an upward trend in most surveyed Indian cities. Finally, Delhi and Mumbai have the highest costs for dining out, while Pune provides the most economical options, followed by Bangalore and Hyderabad.

However, despite a rise in costs, Indian cities continue to be less costly as compared to other countries globally. "

"Mumbai (147) and Delhi (169), offer a cost-efficient destination for global multinational corporations (MNCs) looking to set up operations overseas, with a lower cost of living and expat accommodation costs compared to major cities in the Asia Pacific region like Shanghai, Beijing, and Tokyo," the report said.

First Published: Jun 7 2023 | 12:53 PM IST

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