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Seoul: A Very Expensive City

Posted July. 23, 2008 09:31,   


Seoul turns out to be the world’s second most expensive city out of 16 cities rated when it comes to initial settlement cost of foreigners.

According to a report entitled “Living Conditions in Major Global Cities” released by the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency on Tuesday, Seoul is only second to Paris in terms of initial settlement cost. The report said it cost 138,118 dollars and 148,341 dollars for a four-member family to settle in Seoul and Paris, respectively.

The cost refers to after-tax cost that includes the cost of rent for a house measuring 150 square meters (deposit included); education cost at international schools; health insurance; the price of a sedan with a 2,000 CC engine and annual automobile insurance; and the cost to subscribe to phone service (fixed and mobile), and Internet service.

The two most expensive cities were followed by New York (115,980 dollars), London (113,329 dollars), and Sao Paulo (97,823 dollars).

The report said that Seoul is more expensive to live in than Frankfurt (83,440 dollars), Washington (68,739 dollars), Tokyo (63,057 dollars) and Dubai (44,278 dollars).

The report analyzed that high rent fees made Seoul an expensive city to settle in for foreigners.

Seoul (89,238 dollars) was also chosen as the most expensive city in terms of rent for the first month. It was followed by Paris (36,720 dollars), New York (24,000 dollars) and London (15,226 dollars).

Foreigners living in Seoul should pay 14,045 dollars of annual tuition for their grade-school children. That means they have to pay more than their counterparts living in Washington (10,183 dollars), Tokyo (10,225 dollars), Shanghai (2,874 dollars) and Dubai (4,629 dollars).

KOTRA said, “Facing high initial settlement cost, foreigners may think Korea is an expensive nation in which to live, thus making them hesitate to invest in Korea. The government needs to change its high-cost structure or help foreigners to settle in the nation.”

Meanwhile Seoul (923 dollars) ranked fourth on the list in terms of traveling expenses for four days. The expenses include the costs of accommodation, taxis, food, and international call charges. London (2,070 dollars) was the most expensive city for a business traveler. It was followed by Dubai (2,002 dollars), Paris (1,779 dollars), Frankfurt (1,533 dollars), and Washington (1,417 dollars).