Dublin among world’s top 50 most expensive cities for expats

Capital remains ‘attractive location’ for foreign talent despite high demand for housing

A new international survey has placed Dublin in the top 50 most expensive cities in which to live and work.

Published this morning, the Mercer Cost of Living Survey ranks the capital 49th in a list of the 227 costliest cities for expatriates from other countries, an improvement on 2021, when the city was ranked 39th. Hong Kong takes the top spot as the most expensive city for foreigners to live and work in while four Swiss cities — Zurich, Geneva, Basle and Bern — round out the top five.

At 21st in the rankings, Vienna was the most expensive euro zone city in the list, followed by Amsterdam at 25, Munich at 33, Paris at 25 and Brussels at 39.

Dublin, at 49th in the rankings, is just ahead of Luxembourg and Rome. Belfast jumped one place to 149th in the 2022 list.


Noel O’Connor, senior consultant at human resources consultancy Mercer Ireland, said the weakening of the euro against the dollar had affected Dublin’s place in the rankings.

“High demand in the private rental market, often the biggest cost for companies placing employees on assignment, along with soaring utility costs, present challenges for employers of international assignees,” he said.

Mr O’Connor’s comments echo those of a top accountancy body that warned last week that Ireland’s housing system “is not meeting the needs of its people” and that businesses here are having trouble attracting and retaining foreign talent because of it.

The Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies Ireland, the representative body for the main accountancy bodies, said reform of the tax code, particularly as it relates to personal taxation and the taxation of small, individual landlords, should be a priority for the Government ahead of Budget 2023 in October.

But Mr O’Connor said that “despite the impact of socio-economic headwinds” arising from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, “Dublin remains an attractive location for expatriates overall”.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times