These are South Africa’s most expensive cities to live in

Two global cost of living indices have ranked Pretoria as the most expensive city in South Africa, taking the top position from Johannesburg, which was listed as the country’s most expensive city in 2016.

The indices – compiled by data and research sites Numbeo and Expatistan – have marked the same change in 2017: that the cost of living in Pretoria has continued to rise, pushing it up as being the most expensive city in the country.

In the 2016 rankings, Pretoria pushed ahead of Cape Town to take the second spot in the country, with the mother city retaining its position as third most expensive in 2017.

Both indices rely on user-submitted data on the costs of living in each respective city in the country. While a large number of South African cities are covered, only those with enough input to be statistically relevant are included in the final rankings.

This narrows the South African cities covered to around four, all in major economic regions.

Read: Pretoria’s richest area surpasses Sandton as the most valuable in Gauteng

The table below shows how each index ranks South Africa’s cities.

# Numbeo Expatistan
1 Pretoria Pretoria
2 Johannesburg Johannesburg
3 Cape Town Cape Town
4 Durban Durban

On the overall Expatistan listing, Pretoria ranks as the 217th most expensive city in the world (out of 324 cities), followed by Joburg at 227th, Cape Town at 241st and Durban at 257th.

On the Numbeo ranking, Pretoria is ranked 365th (out of 510 cities), with Joburg at 376th, Cape Town at 382nd and Durban at 408th.

In both rankings, Swiss cities feature at the top as the most expensive in the world, with cities in India and Ukraine ranking as some of the cheapest.

Breakdown of cost of living

Expatistan and Number provide actual price breakdowns of individual costs – like rent, transport and entertainment, among others – while Numbeo goes further and provides a cost breakdown, showing what portion of the average monthly salary goes to each category.

The table below covers five categories (transport, rent, salaries, utilities and entertainment) which contain the average prices across all four major cities covered by Numbeo and Expatistan.

Per month Pretoria Johannesburg Cape Town Durban
Average disposable salary R18 472 R23 853 R17 438 R15 000
Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre R4 929 R6 828 R10 557 R4 571
Basic utilities R1 130 R1 026 R871 R1 052
Meal for two people at a restaurant R450 R500 R450 R450
Monthly transport costs R800 R500 R350 R440

According to the indices, Pretoria is the most expensive city for its transportation costs, retail prices and going out (entertainment prices). While Cape Town is third most expensive city in South Africa to live in, it by far has the highest housing costs in the country.

The graphs below outline how the average salary is portioned across South Africa’s major cities.





Read: The worst South African city to drive in: Joburg vs Cape Town

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These are South Africa’s most expensive cities to live in