4th year in a row
We may be the happiest country in Asia, but we’re also the most expensive city in the world. According to the Worldwide Cost of Living for 2017 report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Singapore has topped the unenviable chart once again — for the fourth consecutive year.
Four out of the top five on the list are Asian cities — Hong Kong came in second, Tokyo at fourth place, and Osaka at fifth — while Zurich ranked third, followed by Seoul in sixth place, Geneva and Paris tied at seventh spot, New York at ninth and Copenhagen rounding up the top ten.
The study assesses consumer prices across 160 products and services in 133 cities around the globe, and even though Singapore is still the most expensive country in the world to buy and run a car (and the second priciest to buy clothes), we don’t do too bad when it comes to categories like personal care, household goods and domestic help.
Measuring the cost of living worldwide
SINGAPORE retains its title as the world’s most expensive city for a fourth consecutive year, according to the latest cost-of-living survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit, our sister company. The survey, which compares the prices of 160 goods and services in 133 cities around the world and is primarily used by human resources managers to calculate compensation packages for overseas postings, found that Singapore was 20% more expensive than New York and 5% pricier than Hong Kong, which lies in second place.
A sustained recovery in the strength of the Japanese yen has led to rising costs in Osaka and Tokyo. Asia now hosts five out of the six most expensive cities in the world. This contrasts with a gradual drop down the rankings for European cities, which made up eight of the ten most expensive places a decade ago and now account for just four. In Britain the depreciation of sterling after the Brexit referendum has helped push London and Manchester sharply down the rankings; London is at its lowest position in 20 years.
American cities have fallen down the rankings, too, although they still remain comparatively expensive compared with five years ago, when New York was ranked in 46th position. San Francisco and Lexington, Kentucky were the only American cities out of the 16 surveyed to move up the rankings.
5 other lists Singapore has topped that matter more than being the world's most expensive city
Yay, we're expensive. It's something we've named and shamed to our heart's and wallet's content, often when comparing notes with our other Asian or international counterparts: "It's so expensive!", "Do you know the certificate to buy a car is more expensive that the actual car?" and "Wahlao, not cheap leh!" — some Singlish for good measure. In fact, I have just returned from a press trip to India, where fellow journalists and I were lamenting (i.e. complaining) on how expensive our respective cities were. She's from Hong Kong, while I'm from Singapore: Two of the four Asian tigers groaning about the price of rent and transportation. Just as our private car wheeled along a smattering of dilapidated huts that stood in the foreground of the lush North Goan landscape. Paints quite a picture, doesn't it?
The report just released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) today has just sealed the deal. We're first, topping Hong Kong, New York, Paris and Tokyo as the world's most expensive city. For a fourth consecutive year, Singapore has dominated the ranks in a list that has compared more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services: Food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items. While Simon Baptist, the regional director for Asia at the EIU has shared that the list doesn't compare the cost of rent, it has taken into effect the three key drivers of the cost of living: Exchange rate, government policies and commodity prices.
If you're among — or are descended from — Singapore's richest who've moved up four spots in the world billionaire ranking this year according to Forbes, this piece of news will hardly rock your boat. If you're like some of us (the gym membership-owning, flat white-chugging, restaurant week-attending lot), we can bet you've rolled your eyes all the way to the back of your head, and then some. To each his own, sure, but I think being expensive isn't something to be smug about. Here are five other lists that Singapore has come out tops (or close) in, and what it means for this little yet expensive red dot. Here are 5 other achievements we've attained in 2017 that you should be proud of:
- Singapore, number 4 on Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index
- Singapore Changi Airport, number one on the 2017 Skytrax World Airport Awards
- Singapore, number two on world's least miserable country index
- Singapore, number four on world's healthiest country based on the World Health
- Singapore, number one in talent for the Global Startup Ecosystem Report & Ranking