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Caracas is more expensive than Copenhagen, while Mexico City is among the least expensive house rental locations worldwide.

BY CHRONICLE STAFF

Venezuela's capital Caracas is the most expensive city in Latin America for expatriate executives when it comes to renting an apartment, according to Mercer. Meanwhile, Mexico City is now the second-lowest rental location among the top 50 cities for expatriate assignments.

Caracas has replaced Sao Paulo when it comes to the cost of renting a typical 1-4 bedroom apartment and 3-4 bedroom house for expatriates. Using New York as the base city, with a score of 100, Caracas got 68 points and ranks 18 worldwide.

While less expensive than New York, that makes the Venezuelan capital more expensive than cities like Copenhagen and Guangzhou in China. In September, Caracas ranked 22.

COLOMBIA AND BRAZIL

Colombian capital Bogota saw its score decline from 66.1 points in September to 58 points in February, but its rank move up one notch - from 23 to 22 worldwide. Since Sao Paulo saw a stronger drop in its score, Bogota became the second-most expensive city in Latin America. Bogota is more expensive than cities like Dublin, Madrid and Amsterdam.

Sao Paulo saw its score fall from 76.1 points in September to 53.4 points. Similarly, Rio de Janeiro has dropped from 70.8 points to 49.4 points in February. Sao Paulo is more expensive than cities like Sydney, Athens and Tapei, while renting in Rio costs more than cities like Frankfurt, Brussels and Oslo.

Argentina's capital Buenos Aires kept its score of 42 points, but moved up from 47th to 42nd place on the ranking.

MEXICO CITY

Meanwhile, Mexican capital Mexico City declined its score from 51.2 points to 37.5 points and fell to 49th place from its previous rank of 38. Mexico City is only more expensive than Johannesburg among the top 50 expat cities, but less so than cities like Toronto, Stockholm and Prague.

“In recent months, much of the movement in the rankings can be attributed to currency fluctuations," Marie-Laurence Sépède, senior associate and research manager at Mercer, said in a statement.

Currencies like the Brazilian real and Mexican peso have lost more than 30 percent in value against the dollar since September last year.

"Looking ahead over the next few months, we would expect to see a general decline in rental prices due to the economic slowdown," she says. "Multinational companies should closely monitor these changes in the markets so as not to lose out on opportunities for cost savings."

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