Q.2 2024

Data Points

A Selection of AIRINC Research Results

This quarter’s cost of living research was conducted primarily in Europe, Asia, and mainland Southeast Asia.

Housing Update

Snapshots of expatriate-quality rental markets around the world

Dhaka, Bangladesh

India

Moscow, Russia

Spain

Netherlands

Brussels, Belgium

Baku, Azerbaijan

Bangladesh country in blue

Dhaka, Bangladesh

The luxury rental market continues to boom with foreign investment. Demand from the growing middle class and a steady flow of expatriates arriving from India, China, and Japan have caused vacancy rates to fall. Increased infrastructure costs in building new supply of properties, and the addition of high-end amenities in apartment complexes are pushing rents up.

India country in blue

India

Rents in major cities across India shot up over the past 6 months. Local tenant incomes increased as the economy booms. As a result, there is lower availability for high-quality properties, causing supply and demand issues. Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Bangalore are some of the cities with rising rents.

Moscow, Russia

The rental market has turned. After several years of price declines, rents are now up. Our research confirmed that a spike in demand from both Russians and expatriates has pushed asking rents up. Vacancy rates are relatively low, estimated at 3 percent.

Spain

The Housing Act which was passed in 2023 and further amended in 2024 has caused uncertainty for landlords. More long-term rentals have been changed to seasonal or holiday rentals, leaving less available. Demand is also strong as would-be buyers remain in the rental market because of high interest rates.

Netherlands country map

Netherlands

Rents in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and the Hague are all up with low supply and high demand. Owners are selling off their rental properties in advance of new government regulations which may move many properties from the private to the social rental market.

Brussels, Belgium

Rents are up significantly due to higher demand from would-be buyers who have turned to the rental market in the face of high interest rates, making purchasing at this time unaffordable.

Baku, Azerbaijan

Rents increased again due to continuing expat arrivals, including from Russia. There is a lot of competition at both the low and high ends of the rental market due to low supply. Construction and investment increased and newer and updated properties are commanding higher rents.

Goods and Services Update

Highlights from AIRINC’s in-depth research
Spotlight on: Mexican Peso (MXN)
An Electric Vehicle Trade War?

While the beginning of the second quarter of 2024 showed stability, the Mexican peso became one of the worst currency performances in the world later in the quarter. This devaluation was largely attributed to the presidential election on June 2nd which resulted in a landslide victory for Claudia Sheinbaum, a member of the Morena party. While this win was anticipated, the resulting control the Morena party has over both houses of Congress was not.

Following the election, the peso dropped in value and became extremely volatile. This comes after the majority party announced a bid to introduce several reforms that would decrease restrictions on the government’s power. The Morena party would be able to directly effect changes in the economy with little to no opposition if the proposed reforms go into effect.

While the election and the ensuing changes certainly affected the peso, they were not the only factors impacting the currency. Speculative traders made pre-emptive selloffs in the form of a high volume of stop-losses which quickened the currency’s devaluation.

However, the currency has recently seen increasing stability after its dramatic low. According to economic strategists, the currency reacted disproportionately to the situation at hand and is likely to regain value. Despite this, investors continue to be wary of the currency.

Developments inside the government are sure to guide the rise and fall of the peso value. Sheinbaum named the first few members of her cabinet, including Marcelo Ebrard as the economy minister. Ebrard was the former foreign minister, and his posting has inspired rising confidence in the peso from investors.

There are ongoing concerns of another trade war on the horizon this summer as China and the EU meet to negotiate tariffs on electric vehicles. Chinese manufacturers have been able to create electric vehicles at significantly lower costs than their western counterparts. Citing concerns for US industry and security this past May, President Biden announced a startling 100% import tariff on Chines EVs, quadrupling the pre-existing rate. Canada has signaled it will follow suit in raising tariffs, announcing the opening of an investigation into Chinese EV trade practices. Meanwhile, the EU was set to apply a provisional 38.1% import duty as of early July.

China had hoped to persuade the EU in particular to abandon those plans, however, and negotiations with the European Commission took place in early July. Despite concerns that China will impose its own increased tariffs on European imports should they fail to reach a satisfactory agreement during the talks, the EU recently announced it will indeed be applying significant tariffs of up to 37.6% on Chinese EVs, though the exact figure will vary by manufacturer. Interestingly, these tariffs do not have to be paid until November, if and when the EU government confirms the rates. Consumer markets may experience some tumultuous pricing in the coming months as China considers its response.

Goods and Services Inflation

Selected locations with inflation higher than 5% for 6 months
Laos flag
Laos
North Cyprus flag
Northern Cyprus
Tajikistan
Turkey flag
Turkey
Uzbekistan flag
Uzbekistan

Selected 3-month Exchange Rate fluctuations of more than 5%

Argentina

Currency: ARS

Change vs EUR: -5.1%

Change vs USD: -6.3%

Bangladesh

Currency: BDT

Change vs EUR: -5.2%

Change vs USD: -6.4%

Brazil

Currency: BRL

Change vs EUR: -6.4%

Change vs USD: -7.6%

Egypt

Currency: EGP

Change vs EUR: -4.1%

Change vs USD: -5.5%

Georgia

Currency: GEL

Change vs EUR: -4.3%

Change vs USD: -5.7%

Ghana

Currency: GHS

Change vs EUR: -13.4%

Change vs USD: -14.6%

Japan

Currency: JPY

Change vs EUR: -4.4%

Change vs USD: -5.7%

Kenya

Currency: KES

Change vs EUR: 8.8%

Change vs USD: 7.4%

Mexico

Currency: MXN

Change vs EUR: -6.9%

Change vs USD: -8.1%

Nigeria

Currency: NGN

Change vs EUR: 10.6%

Change vs USD: 9.2%

Philippines

Currency: PHP

Change vs EUR: -4.1%

Change vs USD: -5.3%

Sierra Leone

Currency: SLE

Change vs EUR: -100%

Change vs USD: -100%

Suriname

Currency: SRD

Change vs EUR: 13.6%

Change vs USD: 12.1%

Zambia

Currency: ZMW

Change vs EUR: -5%

Change vs USD: -6.2%

Zimbabwe

Currency: ZWG

Change vs EUR: -45.2%

Change vs USD: -45.9%

Country
Tax Update

Changes in expatriate tax

Australia

Bahamas

Kenya

Italy

United Kingdom

Australia

  • The 2024/2025 budget for Australia was delivered on May 14th, 2024. Australia enacted tax relief for individuals for 2024/2025. The tax rates and brackets were adjusted. The employer-paid superannuation rate increased from 11% to 11.5% for the 2024/2025 tax year, and the maximum annual superannuation contribution increased from AUD 27,399 to AUD 29,932. The superannuation rate has been increasing incrementally by 0.5% every year and the final announced rate will be to 12% by July 1, 2025. The family allowances (Family Tax Benefits Part A and Part B) increased. The net effect of these changes is a decrease in tax for all taxpayers and an increase in employer social security contributions.

Bahamas

  • There is no income tax in the Bahamas. The employee social security rate increased from 3.9% to 4.65% and the maximum annual contribution increased from BSD 1,501 to BSD 1,790. The net effect is a small increase in social security for all taxpayers.
  • To sustain crucial services and benefits, the National Insurance rate will increase by 1.5% (0.75% each for the employee and employer) every two years from 2024 to 2044.

Kenya

  • Major social security reform was implemented in Kenya for 2024. The former National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) was abolished and the fund’s assets were transferred to a new Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF). The new SHIF program received final approval in March 2024, and all Kenyan nationals are required to register with the fund and begin making contributions. SHIF will establish several healthcare funds to provide universal health insurance coverage for all Kenyan nationals. The final implementation date for SHIF is July 1, 2024. Only individuals will contribute to SHIF as there are no employer-matching contributions, although employers will be required to withhold and remit the employee’s SHIF contributions monthly. The employee’s SHIF contributions are 2.75% of wages uncapped. Kenya’s income tax rates and brackets are unchanged, but allowable tax deductions have been modified. The net effect of these changes is an increase in social security for most taxpayers. The effect on income tax varies by income level.

Italy

  • Lower income employment credits and family allowances (subject to phase-out) increased slightly, and the tax rate schedule was adjusted. The net effect is a small decrease in tax at lower incomes and for families with children.
  • Effective January 1, 2024, the expatriate exclusion of 70% was reduced to 50% and is capped on a salary of EUR 600,000 (previously uncapped). To qualify, the employee must:
    • Be a tax resident in Italy for at least 5 years, and
    • Have been a tax non-resident in the previous 3 tax years, and
    • Work in Italy for at least 183 days in each year applying for the regime, and
    • Qualify as an executive, highly skilled employee, or other qualifications for EU citizens, or citizens of countries with Double Tax Agreements.
  • If Italian tax residency is not maintained for 5 years, the benefit is disapplied, and the tax agency will seek to recover the excluded amount with interest and penalties. Individuals previously granted the 70% exclusion (or 90% in certain southern regions), are eligible to continue using the higher amount.

United Kingdom

  • The U.K. Spring Budget was delivered March 6, 2024. This included an announcement of a reduction in the employee’s Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (NIC) by 2% effective April 6, 2024. The annualized savings in NIC will be GBP 754 per year. Employer contributions to NIC are unchanged. The formula for the High Income Child Benefit Charge has changed, resulting in a more generous phaseout of the Child Benefit. Tax rates, brackets, and the personal allowance are unchanged. The net effect of this change is a reduction in social security contributions and an increase in the family allowance. Tax is unchanged.
  • Other changes were announced in the Spring Budget that affect individuals. Most notable is a repeal of the Non-Domicile regime that limits the remittance basis of taxation for qualifying foreign nationals. The Non9Dom changes are effective in 2025 and will be replaced with a residence-based system applicable to Foreign Income and Gains, with complex transition rules. The Spring Budget also announced a simplification of the Overseas Workday Relief regime, provisions restricting the transfer of assets abroad to avoid tax, a new Individual Savings Account (ISA) scheme, a consultation on implementing the OECD Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework (CARF), and plans to regulate tax advisors and preparers.

Research Location Update

Q.2 2024 Researched Locations and Upcoming Q.3 2024 Locations

AIRINC researches more than one hundred fifty locations each quarter.

Q.2 2024 Researched Locations
Q.3 2024 Upcoming Locations

Countries highlighted in gold on world map.

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Please contact your Client Services representative for more details and further information.

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