Upscale expat life in Asia gets seriously expensive
|Published:||3 Oct at 6 PM|
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The Julius Baer Lifestyle Index monitors the rise over each year in the cost of the trimmings of wealth over four leading Asian cities, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mumbai. The cost of the selected luxury items is calculated in US$, the planet’s most tradeable currency.
At the top of the escalating cost list were fees charged by Oxford University, previously at $51.016 per year and now set at $60,363. Air fare for a London to New York trip in business class is up by 18 per cent from $ 7,211, but there’s hope yet for fashionista shoeaholics as a pair of to-die-for Louboutin pumps dropped in price by 6.1 per cent to $1,762.
Golf aficionados are also smiling faintly, as membership of a top club has also decreased, if only by 1.5 per cent. The survey indicated that inflation in Asia is now a serious consideration, but it also pinpoints big differences between the price of the same luxury items across the four cities.
For example, in Hong Kong, a Mercedes 500 SEL costs $229,832, while in heavily-taxed Singapore the same car costs almost £400,000.The dental work seen as essential by older millionaire expats is best done in Shanghai at 10 times less than similar implants in Hong Kong but, if there’s a problem, suing the Shanghai dentist costs twice the price of a Hong Kong lawyer.
That ultimate musical wealth symbol, a top-of-the-exclusive-range Steinway grand piano, costs a meagre $150,521 in Mumbia, but is $100,000 dearer in Shanghai.A British banker working mainly in southeast Asia, James Hughes, agrees that the cost of living in Asia is creeping up. He adds that expat inflation, centred on the little luxuries foreigners cant seem to live without, is creeping a lot faster than housing and food costs.
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Indeed, Beijing has also seen rapid inflation in expat costs. Finding a decent standard rental for less than $4000 a month is practically impossible; and living locally remains fraught with problems.