Survey rates Singapore as most expensive expat relocation

Published:  7 Nov at 6 PM
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A new survey by the Economic Intelligence Unit has placed Singapore as the world’s most expensive city for the fourth year running.

Expatriates already living in the pristine city state will be well aware of the ever-rising costs of an acceptable lifestyle. The survey results, released last Monday, clarified the reasons for the ranking, but also pointed out that it offers ‘relative value’ in several categories when compared with certain other countries in the same region. Asian cities seem to be taking over the ‘most expensive for expats’ tag, with the reappearance of Osaka and Tokyo in the ‘top ten most expensive’ list. Hong Kong was rated just below Singapore, with the billionaires’ haunt of Zurich claiming third place.

Singapore’s split between the extremely expensive and the still affordable made interesting reading for expats striving to keep ahead of their costs, with domestic help still eminently affordable and household goods cheaper than in other regional expat hotspots. Buying and running a car, a necessity for many upscale expats in spite of the city state’s excellent public transport options including taxis, is more expensive than in any other world country, as is buying fashionable clothes in order to keep up with the rest of the pack. Food and drink, however, costs around the same as in Shanghai, with Singapore’s vast selection of cuisines famous across the world for taste and value for money.

Tokyo, Seoul and Osaka were placed as the three most expensive world locations for staple goods, with a full grocery basket in the South Korean capital costing 50 per cent more than in New York. First-world Western cities, including New York at ninth place, were also rated as comparatively expensive for expat living, and the Australian mega-cities of Melbourne and Sydney were placed in the top 20 along with New Zealand’s Wellington and Auckland.

For expats looking for affordable entertainment, Geneva and Zurich aren’t recommended, along with several other Western capitals and major cities including Paris. In general, Asian cities are priciest for general grocery shopping, making the choice between cooking at home and eating out a no-brainer.
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