Hong Kong ranks last for political stability and housing affordability in expat survey of the world’s best cities to live


Hong Kong ranked last for political stability and housing affordability in a survey of the world’s best places to live for expats, as the city continues to sit at the bottom of the overall rankings.

The annual report of networking site InterNations ranked Hong Kong 46th out of 57 cities worldwide, based on a survey of 12,420 expatriates.

New list ranks Hong Kong as eighth safest city in the world, down from 20th in 2019

In Asia, only Tokyo ranks below Hong Kong, with the financial center clearly beaten by regional rival Singapore, which ranked fifth, as well as Ho Chi Min, Bangkok and Shanghai.

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Globally, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia was ranked number one destination for expats, followed by Malaga in Spain and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Last year, Hong Kong ranked 57th out of 66 cities and was 52nd in 2019 when the survey covered 82 cities. Seven years ago, Hong Kong ranked 10th.

In the 2021 edition of the report, Hong Kong scored the lowest in the world for political stability and was the only Asian city in the bottom 10 for the security and politics subcategory.

Only 10% of expatriates viewed Hong Kong’s political stability in a positive light. In contrast, almost all expats, at 95%, were satisfied with Singapore’s political stability.

“We will be moving soon because the political situation is so bad,” an American expat in Hong Kong told InterNations.

InterNations noted in 2019 that expats living in Hong Kong may change their views on safety and security amid the widespread anti-government protests that rocked the city that year.

Since then, a national security law imposed by Beijing last June has sparked new questions from foreign residents about the city’s future.

Hong Kong, notoriously landless, also came last in housing affordability among all the cities featured in InterNations’ latest report.

Some 78 percent of expats surveyed gave the cost of living in the city a negative rating, compared to a global average of 34 percent.

While 71% of those polled said it was easy for expats to find accommodation, 89% said they saw prices as unaffordable. For expats in other cities around the world, around 39% said accommodation was expensive.

A German expat in Hong Kong stressed that “the apartments are small and expensive,” the InterNations report noted.

The survey drew responses from at least 50 expats in each city.

Hong Kong has been ranked the world’s most expensive housing market for the 11th consecutive year, and it will take an average of 20.7 years for a family to afford housing in the city, according to the annual Demographia International Housing Affordability survey . Some new homes are only 200 to 300 square feet in size.

The InterNations poll placed Kuala Lumpur first in the world in the finance and housing index, with 74% of expats saying housing was affordable and 91% saying these options were easy to find.

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