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Vancouver is 116th most expensive city worldwide: Mercer

Survey evaluated costs for housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment
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Vancouver's iconic Marine Building's reflection is visible in neighbouring buildings

Vancouverites grappling with sky-high housing costs might be surprised that this year's Mercer Cost of Living Survey ranks the city as the No. 118 most expensive city worldwide.

Demographia, for example, this year ranked Vancouver's as having the third least affordable housing market among 94 major housing markets in eight nations: Australia, Canada, China, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Mercer Cost of Living Survey, however, is a braoder-based measure of the cost of living. Its purpose is to provide employers with a sense of how expensive cities are around the world for ex-pats, and therefore how much employers should pay workers who they base abroad. 

Researchers evaluated more than 400 cities around the world and ranked 227 cities on five continents, measuring the comparative cost of more than 200 items. The aim was to measure not only the cost of housing, but also transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Vancouver's rank on the Mercer Cost of Living Survey fell in the past year, given that it was ranked as the world's No. 108 most expensive city last year.

The Top 10 most expensive cities, according to the survey are:

• Hong Kong, China;
• Singapore;
• Zurich, Switzerland;
• Geneva, Switzerland;
• Basel, Switzerland;
• New York City, USA;
• Bern, Switzerland;
• Tel Aviv, Israel;
• Copenhagen, Denmark; and
• Nassau, Bahamas. 

Toronto ranked as the most expensive Canadian city, and 90th worldwide. Other Canadian cities that ranked included:

• Montreal at No. 135;
• Ottawa at No. 137; and
• Calgary at No. 145. 

gkorstrom@biv.com

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