Expats are often on the move between the world’s top financial centres for money, culture, entertainment and lifestyle.
But living in a popular city comes at a price.
Measuring living costs across continents is tricky, but American apartment rental firm RentCafe took the average rent for an apartment of between 600 and 999 square feet to see how far monthly rent money goes.
Unsurprisingly, cash is spread a lot thinner in some cities than others.
The most expensive is New York, with an average rent of $3,860 a month.
San Francisco ($3,360) and Boston ($2,930) take second and third places.
Where to find the cheapest rents
Hong Kong is the only other financial centre topping a $2,500 a month in rent, where an apartment costs $2,740 a month.
Switzerland is the most expensive place in Europe to rent an apartment – costing $2,320 a month in Geneva and slightly less, at $2,200 a month, in Zurich.
The cheapest financial centre apartment rental is a world away from these prices.
A pied-a-terre in Casablanca, Morocco, is $820 a month, a $30 a month saving on a similar property in Montreal, Canada, and $90 a month less than Taipei, Taiwan’s $920 a month. These are the only three places with average rents less than $1,000 a month.
Financial centres such as London, Dubai, the Cayman Islands and Shanghai were clustered around $1,500 a month rent for a small apartment.
The full list comes with some surprising gaps between the most expensive and cheapest rents in some countries.
Jobs and competition
For example, renting an apartment in Melbourne, Australia, is $350 a month cheaper than renting in Sydney, which is about 800 kilometres away.
Similarly, there’s a $610 gap between Osaka, Japan ($1,440) and Tokyo ($2,050).
“All 30 cities offer a highly competitive environment with plenty of jobs in the financial sector,” said a RentCafé spokesman.
“But while they are similar in this regard, their rents can differ wildly.”
Go to the RentCafe web site for an explanation of how the data was collected and analysed.