Manila is 59th most expensive city for expats

By Jessica Anne D. Hermosa, BusinessWorld

Posted at Feb 18 2011 08:10 AM | Updated as of Feb 19 2011 12:02 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Metro Manila rose 16 spots last year to become the 59th most expensive city in the world for expatriates after an economic rebound and a stronger peso made leases more costly, consultancy firm ECA said in its annual Accommodation Report.

Rental costs here were also the 12th most expensive in Asia, ECA said, based on September 2010 data on two-bedroom properties "commonly inhabited by international assignees".

The Philippine capital, which ranked 13th in Asia in the previous report, surpassed neighboring capitals like Taipei, Kuala Lumpur and Shenzen.

Tokyo topped the global and Asian rankings due to the strengthening of the yen even as actual rental prices dropped by 7% last year. Expatriates there had to fork over an average $4,352 a month.

The Japanese capital was followed by Moscow, Hong Kong, London, Singapore, Caracas, Abu Dhabi, Bogota, San Francisco and Geneva.

In Asia, Tokyo was joined by Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, Shanghai, Hanoi, Bangkok, Mumbai, Jakarta and Beijing as the top ten cities.

The region saw leases rise by an average of nearly 7% in 2010 after falling by more than a tenth in 2009.

"The strong rebound in rental rates in many cities reflects both the rapid economic recovery and the continued expansion of companies into the region," Lee Quane, regional director of ECA Asia, said in a statement.

Rent in Metro Manila rose by 14% "due to the strengthening of the peso against the greenback", ECA said in an e-mail to BusinessWorld. This was based on properties mostly in Makati.

Hong Kong, meanwhile, saw rents increase by 22% to $2,830 a month for a two-bedroom unit after prices fell by roughly a quarter the previous year, ECA said.