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Expats finding Delhi, Mumbai too costly to live

A survey by global consulting firm Mercer blames rising property prices for this, reports N Madhavan.

business Updated: Jun 19, 2007 04:17 IST
Narayanan Madhavan

While India's economy invites global companies to join the boom, the flip side is out. Expatriates are finding it increasingly costly to live in the country's cities, especially the two big metros, Delhi and Mumbai, a survey by global human resource consulting firm Mercer said on Monday.

The survey uses New York as its base city of the index, with 100 points. Those cities that get higher scores are costlier and those with less are relatively cheaper. Mercer said the cost of international standard accommodation in India was high, making its cities lose ground in global lifestyle ranking.

"Rising property prices have caused Indian cities to move up the ranking — for example, Mumbai has jumped from position 68 to 52 (score 84.9) while New Delhi moved up from 73rd place to 68th place (score from 79 to 82.3)," Mercer said.

Moscow, with 134.4 points, is the world's most expensive city for expatriates for the second consecutive year, Mercer said in a statement on its Cost of Living Survey. London is second, climbing three places since last year.

They are followed by Seoul (score 122.4), Tokyo (122.1) and Hong Kong (119.4) — all pushed down one place this year. Asuncion, with an index score of 50, is the least expensive city for the fifth year running. The city is the capital of the South American nation of Paraguay.

Four of the world's most expensive cities for expatriates are in Asia, including Osaka at number eight, down two notches.

Chinese cities have moved down the ranking this year. Beijing ranks 20th and scores 95.9, while Shanghai is in the 26th place with a score of 92.1.

"Over the past 12 months, the value of the Chinese Yuan has decreased by around 6 per cent against the Euro. This factor, together with a low inflation rate and stable property rental prices, has kept the major Chinese cities from moving up the ranking," Mercer said.

Accommodation costs have not escalated because, the availability of high-quality rentals in these cities has kept up with rising demand, it added.