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Rankings and Comparative Overview

In our comprehensive analysis, countries are ranked from the most expensive to the least expensive, providing composite scores to illustrate the relative cost of living. Topping the list is the United States (Austin, Texas), followed by Canada (Toronto, Ontario) and Portugal (Lisbon). Positioned in the middle, Costa Rica (San Jose) offers a comparatively affordable option among expatriate destinations. Here are the updated rankings for each country, from most expensive to least expensive, along with their composite scores:

United States (Austin, Texas): Highest composite score Canada (Toronto, Ontario) Portugal (Lisbon) Costa Rica (San Jose): Mid-range, offering affordability compared to other expatriate destinations This ranking aims to provide insights into the cost of living across different countries, helping prospective residents make informed decisions about relocating.

Methodology and Disclaimer

Our 2024 cost-of-living analysis compares various aspects of living costs across different cities worldwide. Data was sourced primarily from Numbeo and various real estate websites. A composite score was calculated for each country based on standardized categories, including real estate prices, property taxes, utilities, groceries, healthcare, transportation, family expenses, and leisure. While we aim for accuracy and completeness, readers are encouraged to conduct their own research and consult professionals before making financial decisions.

Comparative Analysis of Countries

The report includes an overview of countries such as Panama, Mexico, Thailand, Portugal, Spain, Germany, the UK, the US, and Canada. Each country’s appeal to expatriates, retirees, and property investors is highlighted, with specific cities emphasized for their expatriate-friendly features.

Real Estate Prices

Costa Rica stands out for offering properties that meet specified criteria such as 3-bedroom homes with ocean views and pools. In contrast, countries like Germany and the UK face challenges in matching these criteria due to limitations in size, privacy, and modernity.

Property Tax Rates

Costa Rica’s annual property tax rate of 0.25% of the property’s value is relatively low compared to other countries. Panama, with tiered tax rates, and Mexico with assessed-value-based taxes, also offer favorable environments for real estate owners.

Home Insurance Costs

Costa Rica’s insurance costs range from $2,000 to $4,000 USD annually, influenced by seismic activity. Panama and Mexico similarly factor in natural disaster risks, while Portugal and Germany offer more favorable premiums due to lower risks.


Costa Rica emerges as an attractive destination, balancing affordability with quality of life. Its real estate market, low property taxes, and reasonable insurance rates make it appealing for expatriates seeking a serene lifestyle. The country’s stability, safety, and natural beauty further enhance its appeal as an ideal destination for relocation.