2019 Moving Price Index — The Real Costs Of Moving To The World's Top Cities

photo of expensive neighborhood in Edithvale, Melbourne


When it comes to relocating, many people don‘t truly understand the realities of the cost of living in global cities.

With the rapid growth and development of technology over the last 30 years, we‘ve seen how a more connected world has opened up opportunities for individuals and their families to move both locally and abroad. Demand for special skills has grown, and global companies are competing with each other for the best talent. This has led to the growth of thousands of corporate relocation programs and specialist relocation companies, such as Realogy‘s Cartus which has helped employees find new homes and establish themselves in different communities across the country and around the world.

What About The Cost Of Living?

In the excitement of deciding to relocate to take up a good job offer, individuals don‘t always give enough thought to the realities of moving to another city in terms of the real estate market and the actual costs of living. Movinga, an online-platform-based moving company in Berlin, Germany, specializes in relocation worldwide and has recently published their 2019 Moving Price Index. Managing Director of Movinga, Finn Age Hàmel, commented, “We hope that our index will help people better prepare for realities and difficulties of relocating to some of the in-demand cities around the world. The survey covered 85 cities across the globe that are known for attracting people due to work opportunities and excellent education, as well as having a robust start-up culture and alluring lifestyle. The study set out three month‘s worth of costs associated with moving, including one month of temporary rent, two months of permanent rental, rental deposit, work visa (if required,) transport, phone charges, household consumables, internet charges and more.

The most expensive city, because of its high property rentals was San Francisco at the cost of $13,531 (all numbers in USD) for an individual and $24,004 for a family of four. Other cities where an individual will have to pay more than $10,000 to cover living costs for three months are New York, Sydney, Geneva, Hong Kong, Zurich, Boston and Reykjavik, Iceland.

Surprisingly, the second most expensive city was Dublin, Ireland, well ahead of some traditionally more costly cities. According to Movinga, this was because residential rentals are high due to internet companies like Google and Facebook setting up offices in Dublin‘s Silicon Docks a few years ago. These companies attracted an influx of technology talent. An individual would need over $12,000 to cover three months living costs in Dublin. The two least expensive cities to move to according to the Index are Istanbul, Turkey, and New Delhi, India, where three months of costs for an individual are in the $2,000 range. Other U.S. cities in the index are Los Angeles (12) Washington, DC (14), Miami (18), Seattle (20), Chicago (27) and Houston (50).

The most expensive city for a family of four to move to was Sydney at $28,649 for three months of living expenses, followed by Melbourne at $24,873.

When it comes to internet connectivity, the most expensive city in the world is Dubai, according to the study at nearly $100 per month for internet costs.

Being able to budget accurately for your costs of moving goes a long way to reducing the emotional impact of the move.


This article originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter. It is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc. Copyright © 2019. To read the rest of this issue & more, please visit our Real Trends page online.


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