How Tel Aviv became one of the world's most expensive cities

  • Tel Aviv
    Iulian Ursache / Pixabay
Published on 2020-11-23 at 08:27 by Veedushi
In the latest cost-of-living report by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Tel Aviv is now the world's 5th most expensive city. While the Israeli capital ranks behind Zurich, Paris, Hong Kong and Singapore, it is ahead of other large cities such as Osaka, Geneva, New York, Copenhagen and Los Angeles. What does this mean for expats?

The report lists the prices of 138 products and services in some 130 major cities around the world. As of September 2020, prices had increased by 0.3 points overall in all these cities. Entertainment, home appliances, electronics, and tobacco had the most significant price rises. In contrast, there was a drop in clothing prices in most of these cities. Tel Aviv thus becomes the most expensive city in the Middle East, even more than Dubai, for example.

The situation in Israel

The cost of living has been rising in Israel since some time now. In recent years, this even gave rise to public demonstrations. In 2018, Israelis marched in the streets of Tel Aviv against the rising prices of food, telephone, water and electricity, etc. Today, with the global health crisis, things are not likely to improve, as it's the case in many other countries. As the shekel keeps depreciating in contrast to the US dollar and the euro, you're likely to spend a lot more even if you manage to secure an attractive salary package.

A breakdown of expat expenses in Tel Aviv

Rent is one of the main expenses of an expat in Tel Aviv. Of course, it depends on your standard of living, especially if you're moving with your family. Single expats, for example, can probably opt for a small furnished studio for around € 1,089 per month in a normal neighborhood, according to Expatistan. If you prefer a posh neighbourhood, then count € 1,375 on average per month. For those who are looking to settle in Tel Aviv with their family, prices start from € 1,500 per month for an apartment with more than one bedroom on the outskirts and more than € 2,000 per month for the same type of accommodation in a post neighbourhood downtown. Besides, your water, electricity and heating bills will cost around 110 € to 170 €.

What about grocery shopping and eating out? For a basic lunch at a restaurants downtown, count around € 17. Fast-food meals, such as Mc Donald's, will cost around € 13. In recent months, the price of bread has also increased, so count € 1.22 per day for two people. If you like beer, you will be surprised by the price. A can of beer costs € 2.23 at the supermarket! And at the bar, count € 7! A bottle of fine red wine costs around 17 €. To get around, if you don't have a car, count 63 € per month for public transport. It's worth noting that gasoline costs 1.50 € per litre in Tel Aviv. If you prefer to take a taxi, the basic fare is 17 € on weekdays, but on weekends it costs more.

As an expat, leisure will also be part of your everyday life in Tel Aviv. If you're happy with an affordable dinner at the local bar, 40 € may be enough for two people. But if you prefer an Italian dish in a chic restaurant, count some thirty euros more. If you wish to keep fit, a gym subscription costs € 60 per month on average. When it comes to shopping, you will pay € 103 for a pair of branded sports shoes and € 40 for a little summer dress, depending on the brand. Fancy a new look? Count around € 20 for a standard cut. Obviously, the price excludes the shampoo and brushing.

Tel Aviv: a cool city

Tel Aviv is still a city where you can enjoy an excellent quality of life as an expat. Israel's capital city can boast not only world-class infrastructure, and a relatively young and active population, but also a Mediterranean climate, with the sun almost all year round. By relocating there, you will be able to enjoy its vibrant nightlife and its great cultural wealth, as we mentioned in our recent article Which cities offer the best cultural experience. Tel Aviv is indeed home to no less than five art galleries at every square kilometre besides its UNESCO world heritage sites. You will also find many bars, restaurants, concert halls, theatres and operas, etc. With so many things to see and to do in your free time, you're definitely not likely to get bored. 

Besides, Tel Aviv has one of the world's best entrepreneurial ecosystems, according to StartupBlink. Indeed, the Israeli capital is home to a surprising number of top-notch startups and unicorn companies. So it comes in 3rd while Dubai ranks 99th. This also means that employment and investment opportunities are abundant in Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, PitchBook ranks Tel Aviv 8th among the world's best entrepreneurial nations.

Since Tel Aviv is such a cool city, you can find it in many other global rankings. For example, it is one of the world's most wheelchair-friendly and dog-friendly, and one of the richest art and gastronomic cities. So if you're still wondering whether you should relocate to Tel Aviv, these could be a few pointers to consider.