Dublin fourth most expensive city in euro zone for expatriates, survey finds

Housing crisis blamed for city’s lofty place on list compiled by consultants Mercer

A consulting company has ranked Dublin as the fourth most expensive city in the euro zone to live for expatriate workers, primarily due to Ireland’s housing crisis. Its ranking by global workforce adviser Mercer also bills it as the 39th most expensive city in the world, up seven spots from last year on the list of more than 200.

The top 10 in Mercer’s annual Cost of Living survey is dominated by Asian and Swiss cities, with the most expensive deemed to be Ashgabat, capital of the gas-rich, secretive central Asian state of Turkmenistan. It has knocked Hong Kong into second place.

The Lebanese capital Beirut, which has been hit hard by the pandemic and also a financial crisis, while part of the city was also destroyed by a massive explosion in its port last year, subsequently surged 42 places up the rankings as the third most expensive city for companies to place expat workers.

The Mercer list ostensibly ranks cities based on basket cost of living measures, such as food and transport and also housing costs. It uses New York as a base and so the rankings are also liable to be skewed by currency movements against the dollar, with European countries moving up the rankings this year as the euro strengthened against the US currency.



The Swiss cities of Zurich (fifth), Geneva (eighth) and Bern (10th) are the highest ranked European cities, with most EU cities well down the Mercer list. The Danish capital Copenhagen (16th) is the most expensive ranked EU city but Paris in 33rd is the highest ranked city in a country that uses the euro.

Milan (36th) and Vienna (37th) are also ranked as more expensive for expats than Dublin. London is 18th and New York 14th.

“Dublin, which recorded deflation during the year, didn’t climb as sharply as other euro zone cities like Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam and Rome where official inflation caused faster price rises,” said Noel O’Connor, senior consultant at Mercer.

“One of the factors influencing Dublin’s ranking is the cost of rental accommodation. High demand, coupled with supply constraints in the private rental market, mean some expatriates have difficulty finding appropriate rental accommodation, often the biggest cost for companies placing employees on assignment.”

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times