The cost of living in Johannesburg is around half that of European cities such as London and Paris. While the average salary in Johannesburg is comparatively lower, the city is still fairly low cost compared to many expat destinations in the world. The 2021 Mercer Cost of Living Survey ranked Johannesburg at 184th out of 209 cities worldwide. Cape Town is slightly more expensive, coming in at 178th.

Compared to other cities in South Africa, expats in Johannesburg generally enjoy a higher standard of living as a result of having higher purchasing power, especially when it comes to renting and buying housing.

Cost of accommodation in Johannesburg

The pricing of housing in Johannesburg is very reasonable, and expats' money will go much further here than in Cape Town. Johannesburg housing is not only cheaper but often roomier.

Accommodation costs in Johannesburg are also affected by the area or suburb expats choose to live in. High-income city-centre areas such as Sandton are notoriously pricey, while slightly less glamorous but still pleasant areas like Randburg can offer great value for money.

Cost of groceries in Johannesburg

The cost of day-to-day grocery shopping in Johannesburg is similar to that of most South African cities, with the same popular chain stores being present throughout the country. On the affordable side is Checkers, while Woolworths is generally the most expensive. Pick n Pay falls somewhere between the two.

Cost of transport in Johannesburg

With cars being the main mode of transport in Johannesburg, it's important to consider expenses such as the cost of petrol and maintenance. In South Africa, petrol in coastal cities is slightly cheaper than petrol in inland cities such as Johannesburg. Beyond this, transport expenses in Johannesburg are largely the same as those in Cape Town.

Cost of healthcare in Johannesburg

As the public healthcare system is generally considered inadequate, most expats will do as locals do and opt for private healthcare services instead. Though trips to the GP are reasonably priced, specialist treatment, surgery, hospital stays and chronic medication costs can be high. To cover these extra expenses, we advise that expats take out a comprehensive medical aid policy with either a local or international health insurance provider.

Cost of living in South Africa chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Johannesburg in January 2022.


Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

ZAR 13,700

Three-bedroom apartment outside city centre

ZAR 11,500

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

ZAR 6,500

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

ZAR 6,200


Eggs (dozen)

ZAR 31

Milk (1 litre)

ZAR 17

Rice (1kg)

ZAR 23

Loaf of white bread

ZAR 15

Chicken breasts (1kg)

ZAR 80

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

ZAR 45

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

ZAR 60

Coca-Cola (330ml)

ZAR 15


ZAR 28

Local beer (500ml)

ZAR 35

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

ZAR 600


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

ZAR 1.70

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

ZAR 950

Basic utilities (per month for small household)

ZAR 2,000


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

ZAR 12

Bus/train fare in the city centre 

ZAR 35

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

ZAR 18