How Affordable Is South Africa’s Cost Of Living?

How Affordable Is South Africa’s Cost Of Living?

South Africa’s cost of living is relatively affordable at just 44 percent that of the U.S. — but that’s changing, according to a report in BusinessTech.

South Africans often complain about the rising cost of living there, but it’s one of the most affordable countries in the world according to new data from Deutshe Bank, which looked at world prices for a number of goods and services in terms of purchasing power.

Relative price levels by PPP Source:BusinessTech
Relative price levels by purchasing power parity Source:BusinessTech

But South Africa saw big large shifts in consumer prices – exceeding 6 percent – between 2013 and 2014 — an increase on par with economies such as India, Russia Brazil, according to BusinessTech.

Deutshe Bank’s research covered the relative cost of living in 20 countries including such items as beer, Apple iPhones, car rentals, hotel rooms, Levis jeans and sports shoes.

Prices in New York City were used as the standard measure, and all other prices were listed by city relative to NYC.

This shift away from affordability shows that while Johannesburg was the No. 3 most affordable city on the index in 2001, by 2014, it didn’t even make the top 10.


Cost of living 2001 vs 2014 Top and Bottom 10 Source: BusinessTech
Cost of living 2001 vs 2014 Top and Bottom 10
Source: BusinessTech

According to the data, you’ll pay a lot more for gasoline (143 percent) or an iPhone (120-126 percent) in South Africa than in New York, but you’ll pay a lot less for a rental car (42 percent), haircut (22 percent), or beer (27 percent).

Cape Town scored high on Deutsche Bank’s cheap date index, offering the seventh most affordable night out — about 40 percent of the same night out in New York. A date night in Johannesburg is about 47 percent of NYC’s prices.

Two nights at a five-star hotel in Cape Town with four meals, snacks and car rentals, is also relatively cheap in South Africa — 89 percent of the New York values. Johannesburg is even cheaper at 61 percent.