Kuala Lumpur named the best city to rent in the world
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Kuala Lumpur named the best city to rent in the world

MALAYSIA’s capital has been named on one index as the best city of opportunity for renters in the world above Moscow and Johannesburg.

A new study of housing affordability by US-based apartment search website RENTCafé ranked Kuala Lumpur the best city worldwide to live in terms of relative rental costs. Locals in the garden city of lights can expect to pay barely a fifth of their income on rent, found the study.

RENTCafé took PwC’s recent Cities of Opportunity report, which listed the firm’s chosen 30 best cities globally to live and work in, and ranked them according to rental affordability.


Source: RENTCafe

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While neighbouring Singapore was listed on PwC’s list at number two beneath only London, it dropped right down to 25 in RENTCafé’s list under all other Asian inclusions, due to soaring rental prices in the city-state.

While the median household income in the Little Red Dot is US$100,500, average rent per year is US$44,400 meaning most hand over almost half of their income each month just to put a roof over their head. Rent-to-income ratio in Singapore is comparable to Los Angeles and Paris.


In contrast, Kuala Lumpur was ranked 20 on PwC’s list, however jumps to first place when taking into consideration housing expenses. The median income in KL stands at $22,400 while rent is only $4,500, leaving 80 percent of a household’s expenditure for other things.

Jakarta was another Southeast Asian capital to make the list, ranked at number 19.

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“Access to the great opportunities these cities offer requires some compromises. At least in the very best of them, it’s safe to argue that rental affordability is not a major charm,” wrote RENTCafé’s Balazs Szekely.

In Asia, Chinese economic powerhouses Beijing and Shanghai came next in after KL at number 7 and 8, respectively, while Sydney was ranked number 9. The RENTCafé index then sees East Asian megacities of Seoul at 13, Tokyo at 14 and Hong Kong at number 15.


Wangfujing Street, Beijing. Source: Wikipedia Commons


“You’ve got to give something to get something—that’s just the way things work and there’s not much to do about it,” continued Szekely.

“The good news is that there are plenty of other great cities with a fertile ground for growth and success, but where renting an apartment is not an issue at all.”

Cities in North America like San Francisco, New York and Chicago fared poorly, while Mexico City was ranked dead last at number 30.

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