City of gold found to have most affordable two-bedroom luxury apartments worldwide

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

Johannesburg is the world's eighth cheapest city for expatriates, according to the latest Cost of Living survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

Johannesburg was found to have the cheapest rent for a luxury two-bedroom unfurnished apartment in the world. It was the only South African city out of the 143 cities Mercer included in the study.

Harare was excluded from this year's rankings because the severe economic crisis in Zimbabwe has rendered costs there incomparable, the report said.

At about R6860 a month, the rent for a nice Johannesburg flat is a quarter of that charged for the equivalent pad in Tokyo, which has the highest rent worldwide and was rated the fourth most expensive city overall.

A major handicap that Joburg shares with Moscow - the world's most expensive city according to Mercer - is a public transport system rated "N/A".

Buenos Aires was found to have the cheapest public transport, helping it beat Joburg's cost of living despite higher rent and food prices.

Mercer's Cost of Living index uses New York as the base city, which is allocated 100 points. New York was ranked as the most expensive city in the US, placed 15th on Mercer's list. Only New York and Los Angeles were on the top 50 most expensive cities list.

"The improvement of most US cities in the ranking can be attributed to the depreciation of the US dollar against the euro and other major currencies worldwide. The change reflects a reversal of the situation experienced this time last year, when the majority of US cities climbed the ranking because of the strength of the dollar," said Rebecca Powers, a principal and senior consultant at Mercer.

Johannesburg's score of 61,3 indicates that it is 38,7percent cheaper to live in Joburg than in New York. In Moscow, on the other hand, it takes 34,4 percent more money to live the equivalent lifestyle of a New Yorker.