A strong currency, expensive house prices, and exorbitant utility rates mean that Singapore has taken the accolade of being the most expensive city in the world in which to live. Tokyo, last year’s most expensive city, has slipped to 6th thanks to poor currency performance, while strong Eurozone growth means that Paris is 2nd with Oslo, Zurich, and Sydney in 3rd, 4th, and 5th places respectively. Tokyo is tied with Caracas, Geneva, and Melbourne for 6th and Copenhagen takes the last spot in the top 10 most expensive cities. London ranked 15th.
Being the most expensive city in the world in which to live is a questionable boast. Prices tend to be high because the location is appealing and highly sought after, but it also means that opportunities are restricted. Many factors combine to determine the cost of living and how expensive a location is to live in, including the availability and type of work, the cost of property, and even the performance of the respected currency.
Companies that are looking to set up abroad, or people that are looking to move abroad to work, need to consider factors such as the cost of living. Salary packets will need to reflect the expense associated with living in the city, and if it is too expensive then it can prove difficult to find people that are willing to move to the area in order to take up employment.
The Economist Intelligence Unit ranks the world’s cities according to which is the most expensive to live in, and this year’s table includes 131 cities. The report takes many factors into account and the author of this year’s report has said that while the 40% appreciation in the Singapore dollar is obviously a factor, it isn’t the only factor. The cost of owning and running a car is cited as being especially expensive as the government taxes cars heavily in order to try and reduce congestion on the roads.
Singapore is a popular destination for businesses. It has previously been ranked as the most open economy in the world, the least corrupt, and the most pro-business. There are low corporation tax rates, and the independent state has become especially well known for its place in the world technology market. All of these factors mean that major corporations and wealthy brands originate from the area, and this pushes the cost of living upwards.
However, people looking to move to the area need to consider more than the expense of running a car. Luxury goods, including wine and even clothing, are expensive, more than making up for the attractive salaries that are usually on offer.
Arguably a bigger surprise than Singapore’s first place is that of Paris taking second spot. However, there have been a number of reports of economic recovery throughout Europe and the Eurozone. A report from Markit recently revealed that the Eurozone economy has grown at its fastest rate in 32 months, and this, combined with the appeal and reputation of the world’s most romantic city has helped propel the French capital near the top of the table.
Choosing somewhere to establish a new business, or set up a new branch, can be a difficult decision, and it does require consideration of a number of factors. The wealth of the city is important, and while Tokyo has consistently hit the top spot for the most expensive city in the world in the past 20 years, it has seen its place taken by Singapore and has been overtaken by a number of cities this time around.