City

Jakarta one of the most
expensive cities in SEA:
Survey

Jakarta has been ranked the second most expensive city in Southeast Asia after Singapore, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The annual survey conducted by the London-based Mercer, a human resources consulting, outsourcing and investment services firm, ranked Jakarta 68th out of 214 cities selected based on cost of living.

In the Southeast Asia region, Jakarta came second only to Singapore, which was ranked eighth in the world, the firm said on its website.

The living cost in Jakarta is considered higher than in Bangkok, which ranked 88th, Kuala Lumpur at 104th and Hanoi at 136th.

In the 2011 survey, the trophy for the world’s most expensive city goes to the capital city of Angola, Luanda, for the second consecutive year. Tokyo comes second, followed by N’Djamena in Chad. Moscow and Geneva are in fourth and fifth position respectively.

Senior Mercer researcher Nathalie Constantin-Métral said Asian cities had experience a rise in expenses for expatriates since last year.

“Most Asian cities have moved up in the ranking as availability for expatriate accommodation is limited and demand is high,” she said.

Mercer’s survey compares the cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

A number of expatriates contacted by The Jakarta Post agreed with Mercer’s findings.

A German national living in Jakarta, who wished to remain anonymous, said that she and fellow expatriates in the city considered the cost of living too high here.

“For me, the rent is particularly high,” she said.

The German national, who has lived in Jakarta for two years, said she and her husband had to spend a large amount of money on the rent.

She also complained about the high cost of food and sending her children to school.

“Western food like milk and cheese sold in supermarkets are very expensive,” she said.

Despite the high living costs, she said her family would remain in the city and wait until her husband’s contract expired.

“We are here to work. We need to finish the contract,” she said.

Kim Samath, a Cambodian national, also said rent cost her a lot.

“Compared to Phnom Penh, the house rent is Jakarta is far higher,” she said.

Samath said the high rent was compensated by the slightly lower price of food and gadgets.

“It’s probably because Indonesia and Cambodia are in the same region in Asia,” she said.

Asia’s most expensive city, according to the survey, is Tokyo, followed by Osaka and then Singapore.

The survey sets New York as the benchmark from which other cities in the world are judged.

The US dollar is the currency by which all other currencies are measured.

External factors considered to have an effect on ranking are recent world events, such as natural disasters and political upheavals.

Earlier this year, London-based property research outfit Knight Frank’s said that Jakarta may become a popular investment destination for the world’s super rich — if it can improve living standards in the city.

The city was ranked the 28th best destination for investment by the super wealthy, the survey said. (awd)

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