Hong Kong remains the most expensive location for expat accommodation.

Rents rise by 4.9 per cent.

Research from ECA International has returned Hong Kong as the most expensive location in the world for expatriate rent, with typical expat accommodation averaging USD 10 929 per month. Rental prices for an unfurnished, mid-market, three-bedroom apartment in areas commonly inhabited by international executives in Hong Kong average USD 10 929 per month – an increase of 4.9 per cent from last year.

“Rents increased across Hong Kong during 2018 with limited availability of suitable accommodation, a long-term issue for the Hong Kong housing market, being the main driver,” said Lee Quane, regional director – Asia at ECA International. “Rent increases are not just limited to central Hong Kong anymore either, with rents expected to rise throughout outlying neighbourhoods in 2019 too, as international firms seek more affordable office space and try to take advantage of cheaper suburbs.”

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 320 locations worldwide.

Rental costs in Tokyo rose by an even greater rate than Hong Kong, with typical expat accommodation now costing USD 8 668 per month on average. This is a rise of 6.9 per cent and means that Tokyo is comfortably the second most expensive Asian location in ECA’s survey.

Quane commented: “While the Tokyo rental market has historically always been tight, 2018 saw a significant upturn in the rate of rent increases. An increase in tourism in recent years and the accompanying increase in landlords preferring to lease out accommodation on a short-term basis has contributed to rising costs in recent years. With both the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympics being hosted in Tokyo, we have seen a major surge in business interest in Japan’s capital. All of these factors will contribute to increasingly limited availability of suitable rental accommodation in Tokyo, with rent increases are expected to continue into 2019.”

In Singapore, rental prices have continued to fall for expatriates, with the average monthly rent now USD 4 215. “Reductions in the population of non-residents in Singapore, a key driver of rental demand, has led to further drops in rental prices for expatriates,” explained Quane. “Recent announcements in the Singapore budget have further limited the proportion of foreign workers that companies can employ to 35 per cent by 2021, meaning that this downward trend in rents is expected to continue.”

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