Big Apple Still Priciest US Address

June 20, 2005 ( - Tokyo remains the world's most expensive city with Osaka following closely behind, according to the latest annual Cost of Living Survey from Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

A Mercer news release said that London moved down one notch in the rankings to take third place, followed by Moscow, which also dropped a place this year. The cheapest address was in Asuncion, Paraguay, Mercer said. The study usedNew York as the base city, scoring 100 points; Tokyo scored 134.7, according to the study.

Generally, according to Mercer, there were significant changes in the 2005 rankings primarily due to exchange rate fluctuations, particularly of the US dollar and Euro.

“Currency fluctuations and exchange rates can have a huge impact on how much expatriates receive and what they can buy with that money,” asserted Yvonne Sonsino, a senior consultant with Mercer, in the news release. “The challenge for multinational companies is to ensure their expatriate compensation packages remain fair and attractive enough to retain key employees, while making sure they do not pay over the odds and find themselves at competitive disadvantage.”

The Americas

In its region by region analysis, Mercer’s look at the Americas found that New York remains the most expensive city in North America, at 13 th place. Other costly cities include Los Angeles, ranked 44 th at 86.7, San Francisco in 50 th place at 84.9, and Chicago in 52 ndplace at 84.6.. Washington, DC, takes 78 th place at 77.4. At the other end of the list, Winston-Salem, North Carolina is the cheapest US city surveyed, ranked 119 th (66.6).

Though still relatively inexpensive, Canadian cities continue to move up in the rankings due to the strength of the Canadian dollar. Toronto is the most expensive Canadian city, in 82 nd place at 76.2, while Ottawa is the least expensive, in 122 nd position at 66.4, Mercer said.

Meanwhile, Mercer said that London remains the most expensive city in Europe, with a score of 120.3. Steep accommodation and transportation costs and the appreciation of the pound against the US dollar have contributed to the city’s high ranking. Mercer said.

Moscow is the second most expensive city in Europe, ranked in the 4 th position at 119, followed by Geneva in 6 th place at 113.5 and Zurich in 7 th place at 112.1.

Mercer’s survey covered 144 cities on six continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment..

Copies of the city reports can be purchased here or by calling Mercer Global Information Services at 800 333 3070.