For the fifth year running, Singapore has been revealed to have the highest cost of living.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (The EIU) annual Worldwide Cost of Living 2018 report ranks 133 cities according to more than 400 individual prices across 150 products and services. This includes clothing, groceries, rent, transport, utility bills and recreational costs.
This year’s top 10 cities are largely split between Asia and Europe and there have been large fluctuations across the board compared to previous years.
The EIU explains that “currency fluctuations continue to be a major cause for changes in the ranking.” Compared to the 2017 rankings, Hong Kong has fallen from second to fourth spot while Paris is up from fifth to second place.
Here’s a round-up of 2018’s priciest cities:
Coming in at number one, Singapore’s rank is further evidence of the rising cost of living in Asian economies.
Singapore still remains significantly cheaper than other cities when it comes to the cost of personal care, household goods and domestic services, but the price of clothing and owning and maintaining a vehicle is considerably higher than the global average.
Paris, France and Zurich, Switzerland
The only euro-trading city to make the top 10, Paris is synonymous with luxury and indulgence – not to mention exquisite wine and cheese. However, it’s also known for its skyrocketing real estate and utility prices, making it “structurally extremely expensive to live in”, according to The EIU. On the other hand, The City of Lights was found to offer value for money when it comes to alcohol, transportation, and tobacco.
Meanwhile, Zurich – the capital of 2018’s ‘best country in the world’ – has made the top 10 list of most expensive cities, tying with Paris for second place.
The EIU found Zurich and Geneva to be the most expensive European cities based on the price of recreation, household items, personal care and entertainment, “perhaps reflecting a greater premium on discretionary spending.”
For a true taste of Swedish luxury, take a walk down Bahnhof Street – one of the world’s most expensive streets to shop in where you’ll find the likes of Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Tiffany & Co.
For seven years, Hong Kong has been identified as having the most expensive housing market in the world. The median home price in Hong Kong was 18.1 times the average annual household income in 2017, overtaking New York, London and other metropolitan areas.
According to B2B marketing agency Demographica, Hong Kong, alongside Seoul and Tokyo, is also one of the most expensive places in the world to buy staple goods.
While budget accommodation is not hard to find, if the cost of living was exclusively measured by the price of a pint of beer, the Norwegian capital of Oslo would’ve knocked Singapore from the top spot this year.
A 2017 Deutsche Bank study found that the cost of food and drink is exorbitant in Oslo, with a cold beer (500ml) setting you back US$9.90, compared to just US$1.30 in Prague, Czech Republic – the cheapest on the list.
Here’s what the rest of the list looked like:
5. Geneva, Switzerland and Seoul, South Korea
6. Copenhagen, Denmark
7. Tel Aviv, Israel
8. Sydney, Australia
Movers on the list
Of all 133 cities analysed, Mexico City experienced the fastest increase in the cost of living, moving up 23 places to number 59 on the list ¬– a direct result of volatile currency movements and rising inflation.
London appeared at number 30 this year after the unstable 2016 Brexit referendum toppled the strength of the British pound ¬– making the city the cheapest it’s been in two decades.
Astonishingly, no US cities made the list this year, no doubt due to the dollar’s weakening position against other G10 currencies ¬– despite America’s steadily rising cost of living. New York and Los Angeles sank to number 13 and 14, down from number nine and 11 last year respectively.
In contrast, The EIU points out that New York experienced a “comparatively sharp increase in the relative cost of living” compared with five years ago when it was ranked at number 27.
The EIU named Damascus, the capital and likely the largest city in Syria, as the cheapest in the world. The war-torn region fell 14 rungs this year to rob Almaty in Kazakhstan of its dead-last position.