Tel Aviv Is Now the World’s Most Expensive City to Live In

Inflation and supply-chain issues are pushing up real estate prices to untenable levels

An aerial shot of Tel Aviv, which is now the most expensive city in the world to reside
Tel Aviv, now the most expensive city in the world to reside
Adam Jang / Unsplash

Tel Aviv has taken over for Paris as the world’s most expensive city, according to new research by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The Israeli city jumped from fifth to first in the latest cost-of-living list, pushing down Paris to second place.

Singapore, Zurich and Hong Kong round out the top 5. New York came in sixth and Los Angeles eighth. Damascus was the cheapest city.

As BBC notes, the EIU survey compares costs in U.S. dollars for goods and services in 173 cities. In August and September the average prices in Tel Aviv had risen 3.5% in local currency terms, which is the fastest inflation rate recorded over the past five years. The cost of fuel and transport, along with groceries, has been a huge factor in the increased cost of living.

“The fundamental problem is that in Israel there is no alternative metropolitan center,” as Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai told Haaretz. “In the United States, there is New York, Chicago, Miami and so on. In Britain, there’s Greater London, Manchester and Liverpool. There you can move to another city if the cost of living is too onerous.” Huldai also called increased real estate prices — which were not part of the EIU’s report — a potentially “explosive” issue for the city.

The Guardian points out a few other interesting entries on the list:

  • Forty new cities were added to the rankings this year, with the Scottish capital of Edinburgh the highest new entry at 27th. Stuttgart and San Diego also entered in the Top 50.
  • Rome had the biggest drop (32 to 48), due to a decline in the cost of groceries and clothing. Bangkok and Lima also saw big drops.
  • Tehran, meanwhile, climbed 50 spots to 29th, due to “continued supply-side constraints, goods shortages and rising import prices after the reimposition of U.S. sanctions.”


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