Singapore Is World’s Most Expensive Place To Live

Singapore has earned the dubious honour of being the world’s most expensive city, according to the findings of The Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, a relocation tool that compares the cost of living between 133 cities worldwide using New York as a base city.

 

Singapore heads the top five, with Paris (2), Oslo (3), Zurich (4) and Sydney (5) all remaining structurally expensive. There is plenty of movement lower down the list however, especially relating to exchange rate weakness. Caracas, in Venezuela, falls 124 places, from 6 in last year’s ranking to 4 from bottom this year. Kiev (Ukraine) and Tehran (Iran) fall 38 and 61 places, respectively.

It is not just emerging markets that are prone to slides. Tokyo in Japan, which was replaced as the world's most expensive city last year, has fallen to 11 as low inflation and a weak yen take their toll. Conversely, Seoul, in South Korea, is rising quickly up the rankings. Ranked 50 five years ago, it is now in the top ten.

Despite topping the ranking, Singapore still offers relative value in some categories. For basic groceries, Singapore is only 11% more expensive than New York, but it is the joint most expensive place in the world alongside Seoul to buy clothes, with the malls of Orchard Road offering a price premium that is over 50% higher than New York.

Most significantly, Singapore's complex Certificate of Entitlement system makes car prices excessive, with transport costs almost three times higher than in New York.

Karachi in Pakistan and Bangalore in India offer the best value for money. Indian cities make up four of the six cheapest. Structurally low wages and price subsidies on some staples have made for a highly price sensitive market and it seems that falling oil prices will add further weight to this.

 

 

The Ten Most Expensive Cities in the World

 

Country

City

WCOL index (New York=100)

Rank

 

Singapore

Singapore

129

1

 

France

Paris

126

2

 

Norway

Oslo

124

3

 

Switzerland

Zurich

121

4

 

Australia

Sydney

120

5

 

Australia

Melbourne

118

6

 

Switzerland

Geneva

116

7

 

Denmark

Copenhagen

115

8

 

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

113

9

 

South Korea

Seoul

113

9

 

 

 

The Ten Cheapest Cities in the World

 

Country

City

WCOL index (New York=100)

Rank

 

Pakistan

Karachi

44

132

 

India

Bangalore

44

132

 

Venezuela

Caracas

45

130

 

India

Mumbai

45

130

 

India

Chennai

46

129

 

India

New Delhi

48

128

 

Iran

Tehran

49

126

 

Syria

Damascus

49

126

 

Nepal

Kathmandu

51

125

 

Algeria

Algiers

52

124