The 2019 Moving Price Index determines the landing costs associated with the first three months of relocating to a new city, for an individual and for a family. These costs include the working visa, the essentials (transport, food and drink, and a smartphone plan), temporary accommodation (rent and storage fees), and then the permanent residence (deposit, rent and internet connection setup and monthly costs).
The final index is then ranked from most expensive to least expensive based on the total costs incurred over the first three months for an individual to settle into a new city. These total costs consist of three months‘ worth of ‘essentials’ in addition to one month in temporary accommodation, and two months in a permanent residence.
These costs are designed to be an indicator of the approximate expenses a person may incur by moving to a new city. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that each individual may have circumstantial differences that impact costs (for instance, when a new employer pays for an individual’s temporary accommodation or storage).
For the price index, 85 cities from around the world were selected for the study due to their popularity with highly skilled workers, and those searching for education, lifestyle or economic opportunities.
Below you can find a description of each factor within the study and the sources used.
Individual / Family
- The definition of an individual is: a single adult
- The definition of a family is: two adults, with two children aged 5 and 9 years old.
The data reflects the working visa application fees for one adult and one family of four.
- The application fee for an individual is the fee for a work visa or permit for at least one year; the overall application fee for a family of four includes application fees for one individual (work visa or permit) and for his or her dependants - one adult (spouse) and two children aged 5 and 9.
- The type of a work visa, if applicable, is a visa for 1) a salaried employee who is 2) qualified or highly qualified and 3) already has a job offer from a foreign organization (with a long-term contract).
- Sources: Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Immigration Offices, and embassies of countries.
Transport / Month
- The cost of utilising local public transport for one month. Data reflects the cost of a monthly public transport pass for one individual (adult) and one family of four (two adults and two children aged 9 and 5*) using all means of transport.
- If there is no monthly pass option, the cost of an annual pass has been divided by 12 to represent the monthly cost. If there are no public transport pass options, the total price represents the cost of 44 trips (two trips per day for an estimated 22 working days per month) by one mode of transport, to represent the average commuting costs.
- If there are separate passes for different modes of transportation, the price shown is the cost for a monthly pass for the most widely used mode of transportation in a city.
- The cost for an adult pass is the standard full price.
- The cost for a child ticket is collected with the assumption that he or she is a pupil aged 9; *the 5 year old is assumed to be accompanied by parents thus travels for free.
- Sources: Local public transportation sites, Numbeo.
Food & Drink / Month
- The food and drink costs reflect the consumption of food and drink over a period of one month. For an individual, the cost includes prices for grocery shopping – such as drinks, fresh produce, dairy, grain-based foods and meat – as well as eating fast food four times a week, and a medium-range restaurant three times a week. For a family, the cost includes prices for grocery shopping for two adults and two children, as well as eating with the family at a medium-range restaurant three times a week, and two adults at an expensive restaurant once a week.
- Sources: Numbeo, Expatistan, local market prices.
Phone Bills / Month
- The cost of a local smartphone plan for one month.
- The cost of a local smartphone plan calculated by comparing the three biggest country-level based phone service providers and their prepaid packages that include unlimited calls, texts and at least 0.1 GB mobile data.
- Sources: Prepaid-Data-Sim-Card.fandom, local phone service provider websites.
Rent / Month
- The price for one month’s temporary accommodation is reflective of how much an individual or a family moving to a new city in autumn 2019 would pay. Airbnb was utilised as it is one of the prime searching engines for temporary rentals around the world and one of the most widely-used websites for a person moving abroad, before they have any knowledge of the local real estate market. Adjustments and filters were used to ensure that the temporary apartment which an individual or a family would live in for a month would be comfortable, affordable, and close to the city centre.
- As listings on Airbnb are very much subject to supply and demand, the costs shown in this price index are reflective of what an individual using the exact same search criteria would find, but does not take into account events which may result in price fluctuations, such as festivals, local holidays or popular sporting events for instance. For this reason, the prices shown should be treated as an approximate indicator of the price an individual or a family would need to pay for one month’s temporary accommodation.
- Filters used in Airbnb:
For an individual: one guest, free wifi, heating, TV, kitchen, washer
For a family: four guests (two adults + two children), free wifi, heating, TV, kitchen, washer
- The second-cheapest result was recorded. This is based on the assumption that someone newly relocated to a city would want to find the most cost-effective temporary accommodation solution. By choosing the second least expensive result, you discount any unusual outliers which would be disproportionately cheap compared to the other apartments on offer.
- Prices were collected for August, September and October 2019, and then the median price was calculated. Please note: sample sizes were those available, so in cities where Airbnb is less popular, less options could be recorded.
- Source: Airbnb
Storage / Month
Prices gathered for storage are indicative of the space required for individuals and families for the period of one month. We make the presumption that storage space will be required to keep furniture and personal items during a bridging period between arriving to a new city and moving into a permanent residence.
- Individual storage space
The required space for an individual was calculated using a storage calculator from a major European provider. Other storage providers recommended similar dimensions. As per suggestion, an individual living in a studio/one-bedroom apartment requires 4 m² – 7.5 m² of storage space. Where heights were not provided, we estimated heights of spaces to be 2.47 m.
- Family storage space
The required space for an individual was calculated using a storage calculator from a major European provider. Other storage providers recommended similar dimensions. As per suggestion, a family living in a 2-3 bedroom apartment requires 9 m² – 11 m² of storage space. Where heights were not provided, we estimated heights of spaces to be 2.47 m.
Sources: Shurgard self-storage; local storage providers.
- Median storage prices
The median storage prices are assembled from actual quotes given by industry providers in each city. When rates are not advertised online, providers often rely on a system of personalising quotes. We prioritised the first three providers to offer quotes. Over 100 different providers were used in the study.
Sources: Global storage provider websites; Pelican Storage; 24Storage; Cube Smart Self Storage; independent storage providers.
The cost of a deposit for a long-term residence. Costs are based on the assumption that a deposit for a residence consists of a single month’s worth of rent. Prices can vary from case to case and city to city, but in nearly all instances it is required to pay at least one month’s rent, so one month was used in all cases for comparability.
Rent / Month
- The rent reflects the median current prices in the market (based on current listings reflective of what an individual new to the city would find today).
- The median prices were used for permanent residence costs as the assumption is that someone new to the city would want to find the most comfortable and cost-effective long-term solution, rather than the absolute cheapest. This is in comparison to the methodology used for the temporary accommodation, where it is assumed that the least expensive option would be the most realistic and attractive.
- The definition and size of a single person apartment depends on the country and sometimes city of origin. The convention used in the study refers to a single bedroom flat 40 - 60 sqm or 450 - 650 sqft The average apartment size is mostly around 50 sqm (+-10 sqm) for an individual. The convention used in the study refers to a three bedroom flat of 90 -110 sqm or 970 -1285 sqft The average apartment size is mostly around 105 sqm (+-15 sqm) for a family.
- Filters applied in rental sites: Apartment, size range (if applicable) or number of bedrooms, unfurnished.
- Sources: Bostadssurf, Seloger, Immobilienscout24, Kiji, Trulia, various local accommodation providers and more.
Internet Connection / Month
The price for internet installation and monthly costs are calculated by comparing the three biggest country-level based internet service providers for the following criteria:
- Minimum of 5 mbit/sec
- Type of connection - Fiber or ADSL
- Unlimited calls and texts
- Valid for 30 days
- Choosing the cheapest package offer matching the criteria above.
Results were combined with the Global Broadband Index.
- Sources: The Broadband Index, local provider websites.
- The total cost = three months’ cash allowance for the essentials + one month’s accommodation in temporary accommodation and one month’s storage + two months in a permanent residence.
Currency exchange correct as of 03.06.2019