Cost of Living in Lagos

Expats moving to Nigeria are often shocked when they find out how high the cost of living is. The most expensive city to live in the country is Lagos. In Mercer’s 2019 Cost of Living Survey, Lagos ranked 25th out of 209 cities, making it one of the most expensive African countries to live in. The cost of living in the city is comparable to London and Moscow. This makes Lagos a hard choice for expats who were hoping to save money while living abroad. 

Foreigners should insist on an employment contract that finances accommodation, health insurance, a driver and car, and education. If these points aren’t covered, then an appropriately inflated salary should be negotiated. 

Cost of accommodation in Lagos

Accommodation in Lagos has not kept up with the city’s rapid development. Therefore, accommodation can be hard to come buy and extremely expensive. There are only a handful of suburbs in Lagos that offer expats a reasonable quality of life in terms of accommodation, amenities and convenience. Most expats living in Lagos reside on Victoria Island, and in Ikoyi, Apapa and Ikeja. 

The majority of rental contracts are only available on a two-year lease. It's also not uncommon for the landlord to require the total amount be paid up front, rather than in monthly installments. Luckily, housing is usually provided as part of most expat workers’ relocation packages. 

Expats who have only been allocated an accommodation allowance should make sure the amount promised is enough to secure appropriate housing in Lagos.

Cost of transport in Lagos

Public transport in Lagos is relatively affordable. The most common forms of public transport in Lagos include taxis, buses and motorbike taxis. However, all of these forms of transport are generally unsafe and unreliable due to poorly maintained vehicles and reckless drivers.

Most expats would rather opt to have their own car, often with a personal driver. This is usually also offered as part of their employment package.

Cost of schooling in Lagos

With public schooling not being up to the standards most foreigners are used to, expat children usually attend international schools in Lagos.

Expats should be fully aware that education at international schools comes at a high price. It's therefore vital that expats moving to Lagos with children stipulate subsidies and allowances for education when negotiating their employment contract. 

Cost of shopping in Lagos

As is the case in most developing countries, the cost for Western food and clothes are much more expensive in Lagos than one would be used to. Western groceries can cost up to three times more here than it does in the West. Western clothing is similarly overpriced. 

Expats will find that shopping locally is much cheaper than shopping in one of the modern malls that have emerged in recent years. The price for local produce is fairly cheap at the local markets in Lagos. Buying material and having clothes made by a local tailor will also make buying clothing more budget friendly.

Cost of living in Lagos chart

Prices may vary across Lagos, depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in October 2019.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

NGN 602,500

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

NGN 1,110,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

NGN 167,500

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

NGN 431,500


Milk (1 litre)

NGN 575

Chicken breast (1kg)

NGN 3,175

Dozen eggs

NGN 470

Loaf of white bread 

NGN 365

Rice (1kg)

NGN 775

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NGN 500


City centre public transport

NGN 275

Taxi rate per km

NGN 190

Petrol (per litre)

NGN 146

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

NGN 1,500

Coca-Cola (330ml)   

NGN 185


NGN 535

Local beer (500ml)

NGN 385

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

NGN 8,000


Mobile call rate (per minute)

NGN 42.50

Internet (per month)

NGN 12,600

Basic utilities (gas, electricity etc., average per month for standard household)

NGN 21,000

Expat Health Insurance


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