Dublin ranked the worst city in the world to move to for housing

Revealed: Best and worst cities to live and work in 2020

Dublin has been ranked the worst city in the world to find a place to live for expats in a new study published on Tuesday.

Ireland’s capital was in last place of the 82 cities surveyed in the Expat City Ranking 2019 by Internations, which is mainly a social community for expats, with San Francisco and Munich second and third worst.

A total of 86 per cent of people surveyed from overseas living in Dublin said they found it difficult to get housing, compared to an average of 32 per cent globally.

More than 20,000 people living and working abroad from their home countries took part in the survey. They were asked how satisfied they were with the affordability of housing and how easy it was to find housing, but not if they were renting or buying a house. This is the second year Dublin has topped the survey for having the least access to affordable housing.


"The cost of living is a turn off, it's a nightmare to find an apartment to rent and equally so to find good childcare options," one Brazilian respondent said. Another survey participant from Portugal said the rental market was so bad it was causing them to consider leaving the city.

Overall, Dublin ranked 72nd out of cities surveyed, with quality of urban living, ease of settling in, finance and housing and urban work life all taken into account.

Dublin also ranked 76th out of 82 for cost of living, but this figure was not included in the overall ranking calculations to avoid over-representing financial aspects.

Dublin’s overall ranking was two points worse than London (in 70th place), but scored better in the "urban work life" category for job security and work-life balance. However, London fared better in the quality of life, and finance and housing categories.

The top five destinations to move to were Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Singpore and Montréal. Expats were unhappiest in Kuwait city, followed by Rome, Milan, Lagos (Nigeria) and Paris.

Kathrin Chudoba, head of studies with Internation, said the poor performance of Dublin is mostly due to expats' struggle with housing and finance.

“A total of 88 per cent do not find housing in Dublin affordable, and a similar share of survey participants think it’s difficult for expats to find a place to live in. Additionally, about three in four survey participants rate the local cost of living negatively,” she said.

However, the good news is international expats considered Dublin to be good for career opportunities. Dublin is ranked as the third best city in the world for job and career, behind Ho Chi Minh City (first) and Prague.

“Dublin performs better than in previous years in the Urban Work Life Index, landing in the top 10 in this category, with 75 per cent of expats happy with their local career opportunities. Friendly locals are another reason why expats like Dublin: the clear majority of expats considers the locals to be generally friendly as well as friendly towards foreign residents.”

A total of 66 of people surveyed said they were happy living in Dublin and the city scored in 16th place for “local friendliness”.

The worst 11 cities ranked in the Expat City ranking 2019
82 Kuwait City
81 Rome
80 Milan
79 Lagos
78 Paris
77 San Francisco
76 Los Angeles
75 Lima
74 New York
73 Yangon
72 Dublin

The best 11 cities ranked in the Expat City ranking 2019
1 Taipei
2 Kuala Lumpur
3 Ho Chi Minh City
4 Singapore
5 Montreal
6 Lisbon
7 Barcelona
8 Zug
9 The Hague
10 Basel
11 Aachen

The worst 20 cities for housing
82 Dublin
81 San Francisco
80 Munich
79 Stockholm
78 Copenhagen
77 Paris
76 Geneva
75 Vancouver
74 Amsterdam
73 Auckland
72 New York
71 Hamburg
70 Hong Kong
69 Frankfurt am Main
68 Berlin
67 Milan
66 Los Angeles
65 London
64 Luxembourg City
63 Zurich

The best 20 cities for housing
1 Kuala Lumpur
2 Ho Chi Minh City
3 Bangkok
4 Houston
5 Montréal
6 Panama City
7 Manama
8 Muscat
9 Johannesburg
10 Mexico City
11 Budapest
12 Athens
13 Bogotá
14 Taipei
15 Jakarta
16 Calgary
17 Tallinn
18 Lima
19 Brussels
20 Chicago