Delhi has replaced financial centre Mumbai as the costliest city in the country for expatriates to live in.
That is because rented accommodation and eating out are a lot more costly in the capital, says an annual global survey by human resource consulting firm Mercer.
The survey covers 143 cities across six continents and compares the cost of living including items such as housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.
New York is used as the base city for the index with 100 points and the US dollar as a base currency.
“Delhi pips Mumbai largely on account of accommodation cost,” Rupam Mishra, India head of global mobility at Mercer told Hindustan Times.
“Housing cost in Delhi increased between March 2008-March 2009 whereas in Mumbai, accommodation cost had increased to an extreme earlier and a price correction has been happening since the economy slowed down.”
Confirming the trend, Enrico Sabian, 27, a photographer from Germany who lives in Panchsheel Park, said, “Some restaurants are damn costly. So I mostly cook at home.”
Panchsheel Park is an upscale South Delhi area favoured by expats. Vasant Vihar and Anand Niketan are among other areas.
Despite the high costs, with an average cost of living index of 75.6 and 75.5 respectively compared with New York’s 100, Delhi and Mumbai are cheaper than some of the major cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong with 143.7 and 108.7.
Not all expats are worried. Some in less-fancied areas are happy.
“I live in Lajpat Nagar with my friend and the rent of our two bedroom apartment is just Rs 18,000, which is nothing compared to what one will have to fork out for a similar accommodation in a European city,” said Ida Anderson, a Swedish musician, comparing herself with friends who rented a two-bedroom London apartment for Rs 2.5 lakh a month.
Globally, Indian cities are less costly this year because the sliding rupee has made them cheaper in US dollar terms.