Cost of living in Johannesburg



As expected, with Johannesburg low cost of living, it ranked the most affordable city in the world for expats.

According to Mercer's yearly cost of living survey in July 2009 out of 143 cites across the world, Tokyo is on the top spot as the most expensive city and Johannesburg ranked 143rd as the least expensive city, replacing Asuncion in Paraguay. 


The average cost of renting an apartment in the Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg ranges from USD$1,377 (one-bedroom) to USD$2,142 (two-bedroom) monthly rent while renting a house is approximately USD$2,100 for two bedrooms, USD$2,800 for three bedrooms and USD$3,800 for four bedrooms. 

Buying a Property 

Foreign nationals are allowed to purchase a property in South Africa. In the Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg, buying a one bedroom apartment costs USD$107,637, a two bedroom at USD$228,400, and a three bedroom apartment at USD$283,048. The cost of buying a house ranges from USD$329,144 (two bedroom) to USD$830,441 (four bedroom). 


Cost of utilities like water, electricity, and gas can go around USD$130 per month.

The majority of South Africa's internet service providers are based in Johannesburg, thus residents can enjoy services from wireless Internet, broadband to ADSL and ISDN. Broadband monthly packages can range from R152 (approximately USD$19) for a 384k kbps connection to R413 (approximately USD$53) for a 4096 kbps connection.

Prepaid Wi-Fi Internet is available at a number of locations in Johannesburg starting at R15 (approximately USD$2) for 10 minutes or one can access through credit cards.

When using a mobile phone, a 100 minute call costs USD$18.97.

Most expats living in Johannesburg have a housekeeper since it's very cheap; domestic help costs only around R150 (USD$20) per day. 


Dining out is inexpensive. A meal for two is approximately USD$31. In addition, having lunch at an economical restaurant can cost USD$6.67 per person while fast food meals cost USD$4.31. A 10-15% tip is expected when dining out, although it is not mandatory. 

Home cooked meals are still the cheapest. Breakfast with eggs and bread will cost less than a dollar; a dozen eggs costs USD$1.01 and a loaf of fresh bread costs USD$0.76. Buying a litre of milk costs USD$1.01 and 1.5 litre of bottled water costs USD$1.14. A kilogram of cheese is approximately USD$10.00. 

Drinks like sodas cost USD$0.78, local beer at USD$0.63 while imported beer is around USD$1.00, and a bottle of wine at USD$10.12. 

Value added tax is at a standard rate of 14%. 


Monthly payments for car insurance is approximately USD$300. Monthly spending on fuel is around USD$500-$800 monthly. Price of gasoline per litre is approximately USD$0.88. 

Taxi fare within 5 km in the city centre is around USD$12. It is common to haggle when riding a taxi from the airport as drivers usually ask for a fixed price. Tips are not expected, but a small tip will often be appreciated. Renting a car will cost approximately USD$1,300-$1,500 monthly. 

There are many reasons for an expat to decide to move to another country, but the cost of living is always the deciding factor. Rest assured that in Johannesburg, one can enjoy the sun, the sea, a stable economy and a quality, but low cost of living.



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Cost of Living in South Africa

Expat Services in Johannesburg