Relocation Report

Where is the best place to relocate in the world? By taking into consideration a number of important factors our mortgage experts have been able to reveal the most attractive cities to move to.

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Where are the best cities to relocate to around the world?

In a world where international travel is opening back up and remote working now tried and tested, there is now ample opportunity for people to relocate abroad and with that, start thinking about housing and comparing mortgages.

However, it is not just housing to consider when relocating across the globe. In fact there are many other social and economic factors that have to be taken into consideration when deciding the best city to relocate to, these factors are:

  • Average annual temperature (degrees celsius) 

  • Average annual precipitation (millimetres)

  • Average property price (cost per metre squared)

  • Average monthly salary

  • Average monthly living costs (excluding rent) 

  • Number of restaurants

  • Number of green spaces

  • Average internet speed (MBps)

  • Average life expectancy (years) 

As well as the overall best cities to relocate to, the analysis reveals the most expensive and cheapest areas to move to. Additionally, the relocation cities with the best weather, and the best coastal relocation destinations.

Top three places to relocate

A chart showing the top three cities to live

1: Austin, USA: Relocation Score of 6.02/10

The best city in the world to relocate to is Austin, the fourth-largest city in the USA's second-largest state, Texas. Austin has the third-best internet speed of any city in the rankings, at 87.5 Mbps. Additionally, the city scores high in terms of average temperature (20.4°C), and average monthly salaries at £3,984.

2: Tokyo, Japan: Relocation Score of 5.98/10

The second-highest scoring city is Tokyo, Japan. It is the largest city in the world with a population of over 37 million people, suggesting its mass appeal. Tokyo scores well for its number of restaurants and green spaces and on top of this, it has the best average life expectancy, with residents living to 84. 

3: Charleston, USA: Relocation Score of 5.68/10

Charleston has been a city of conflict throughout the generations, as it proved a crucial battleground in both the American War for Independence and the American Civil War. Despite its tumultuous past, Charleston is now the third best city to relocate to in the world. One factor it exceeded in is internet speed, the average is 106.5 Mbps, meaning that it is by far the fastest of any city on the list, additionally Charleston has a high ranking average monthly salary of £3,147.

Top three most expensive places to relocate

A chart showing the most expensive cities to relocate to

1: Basel, Switzerland: Annual living costs of £53,748

Basel is the most expensive city to relocate to as the annual cost of living is £53,748, which is over £25,000 more a year than the average annual living cost from our study of £28,716. 

2: Zurich, Switzerland: Annual living costs of £53,458

Zurich is the second-most populous Swiss city and is also the second most expensive city to relocate to. Zurich is only around £290 a year cheaper than Basel on average. 

3: Lausanne, Switzerland: Annual living costs of £51,648

Lausanne makes it a hattrick for Switzerland by ranking in third for the most expensive living costs at £51,648. 

Top three most affordable places to relocate 

A chart showing the most affordable places to relocate

1: Istanbul, Turkey: Annual living costs of £12,753

The most affordable relocation destination is Istanbul where average annual living costs are only £12,753. This is £40,995 less a year than Basel, and £15,963 less than the average. 

2: Buenos Aires, Argentina: Annual living costs of £13,802

Argentine capital Buenos Aires is the second most affordable location to relocate with average annual costs of £13,802, which is over £1,000 more expensive than Istanbul. 

3: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Annual living costs of £15,240

£1,438 a year separates Kuala Lumpur and Buenos Aires in terms of average annual living costs. This means that the Malaysian capital ranked third for affordability to relocate to with total annual living costs of £15,240.

Top three relocation destinations with the best weather

A chart showing the cities with the best weather conditions

1: Dubai, UAE: Weather score of 10/10

Dubai is the best relocation destination if you are looking for sunnier climes, as it scored a perfect 10. The average temperature in Dubai is 28.2 degrees celsius, and there is only 68mm of rainfall a year.

2: Abu Dhabi, UAE: Weather score of 9.9/10

The capital of the UAE scores slightly lower than its neighbour with Abu Dhabi achieving 9.9/10. Temperatures are slightly lower at 27.9 degrees, but there is less rain on average with only 42mm falling. 

2: Manama, Bahrain: Weather score of 9.9/10

The joint second-best relocation city in terms of weather is another Middle Eastern capital. The Bahraini city of Manama has the same average temperature as Abu Dhabi. 

Top three coastal relocation destinations 

A chart showing the top cities for costal conditions

1: Doha, Qatar: Coastal relocation score of 7.53/10

The Qatari city of Doha is the top relocation destination located on the coastline, scoring a 7.53/10. Water temperatures in Doha are 24.83 degrees on average and the city has high annual salaries of £41,033

2: Abu Dhabi, UAE: Coastal relocation score of 7.43/10

Abu Dhabi is the second top-scoring location for weather, and is also second for the best coastal relocation destinations. Although air conditions are warmer in Doha, sea temperatures are higher in Abu Dhabi.

3: Dubai, UAE: Coastal relocation score of 7.42/10

The third best coastal relocation city is Dubai where air and water temperatures are the highest at 28.2 and 26.62 degrees retrospectively. However, wages are lower at £31,733.

Methodology & sources

By looking through list articles of the best places to move to for expats, collated a list of cities to form their research. 

Overall ranking

  • A list of coastal and inland cities was collected and after removing some for which total data could not be sourced, we were left with 84 major cities globally. 

  • Average temperature and precipitation were sourced from

  • Property prices, cost of living and salary were taken from Numbeo

  • Number of green spaces and restaurants were taken from TripAdvisor

  • Life expectancy data was taken from

  • Internet speed was taken from

  • Each of these factors were given a normalised score out of ten before taking an average across factors.

Most expensive and affordable cities

The annual cost of living for each city was calculated using the monthly cost of living figures from Numbeo. These figures were then given a normalised score out of ten and ranked accordingly. 

Temperature and rainfall

The average temperature and precipitation data for each city taken from were used to give a normalised score out of ten for each city, with higher temperatures ranking higher and higher rainfall ranking lower which was then ranked.

Coastal Cities

  • A list of coastal cities was compiled and after removing ones where total data could not be found we were left with 82 major coastal cities from around the world.

  • Average sea temperature data was sourced from

  • Average air temperature and average annual rainfall data was found from climate

  • Average living costs and property prices were sourced from Numbeo

  • Number of restaurants were found on Tripadvisor 

  • Average salary data was sourced from World data info

  • Life expectancy values came from the World bank

  • Each of these factors was given a normalised score out of ten before taking an average across factors.

All data was gathered and correct as of October 2021.

About James Andrews 

James is our senior personal finance editor and has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news. He has previously written for ReachPLC, was money editor of Mirror Online and Yahoo Finance UK, and has recently been quoted in City AM, Liverpool Echo and Daily Record as well as featured on national radio shows TalkRadio and the BBC

View James Andrews’ full biography here or visit the press centre for our latest news.

About James Andrews

James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments - picking up a series of awards for his journalism along the way.

View James Andrews's full biography here or visit the press centre for our latest news.