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Cost of living index shows Brussels becoming more expensive for expats

06:57 01/07/2022

Brussels has become a considerably more expensive city for foreign workers to live in, Bruzz reports. The Belgian capital rose 16 places on the annual list of the HR company Mercer and is now 39th. Hong Kong is once again the most expensive city worldwide for expats, according to Mercer.

Brussels’ rise on the list is the result of, among other things, high inflation and the weakening of the euro against the dollar (the study takes the American city of New York as a reference). "Living expenses have become considerably more expensive for expats, and without an adjustment of the indexation of their remuneration, this will be at the expense of their purchasing power," Mercer says. Foreign workers usually receive compensation for the cost of living in the country where they live and work through their home country.

The rise of home working and flexible working can also have consequences. "Many employees have rethought their priorities, work-life balance and the choice of place to live. Expats will more often reconsider whether it's still attractive to work in Brussels in those circumstances," says Mercer.

The fact that Brussels has become more expensive may also have an impact on its attractiveness. "In the long run, this increase in costs could prompt a company to withdraw their international employees from Brussels and transfer them to less expensive cities," Mercer says.

Hong Kong is the most expensive city in the ranking of 227 cities for the fourth time in five years. Last year, Ashgabat in Turkmenistan had taken that title. Hong Kong is followed by four Swiss cities: Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Bern. The top ten is completed by Tel Aviv, New York City, Singapore, Tokyo and Beijing.

The "Cost of Living" index compares prices and services in the cities, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Written by Nick Amies