Singapore expat cost of living soars over five years

Published:  9 Jun at 6 PM
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A survey of relative costs of living across professional expat global relocation destinations rates Singapore 18th in the 'most expensive Asian cities' lisitng.

Current rankings for Asian cities now places Singapore as the 18th most expensive city in the Asian region. Over the past five years, the city state’s cost of living has risen significantly in spite of recently lower inflation rates. The city’s global cost of living ranking has soared 12 points, mirroring the increases in the cost of living for expat professionals.

ECA International’s latest study notes taht the strengthening of Singapore’s currency against the Australian dollar has had an impact which negated the fall in inflation over the past year. Over the past five years, formerly more expensive Australian locations have offered better value for expat money than the city state itself.

Tokyo is still Asia’s most expensive location for the fourth time in the last five years, with this year’s ranking due to the appreciation of the yen against a basket of major currencies since the beginning of 2015. Hong Kong has the second highest cost of living in the Asian region, as well as being the ninth most expensive city globally. Prices on the islands are now higher than in any other Tier 1 Chinese city.

Against the city state’s rising costs for everyday commodities and services, investment in Singapore property is in a continuing downturn, with last quarter’s totals the lowest since 2009. Local experts consider that property as an investment has lost its attraction for the majority of speculators.

Sales this quarter are 35 per cent down than at the same time in 2015. The fall isn’t confined to investment properties, with figures for private properties even more depressed and showing a 65 per cent drop from the last quarter of 2015.

High value transactions suffered the most, while sales of commercial properties fell by 73 per cent and investment sales in the industrial segment crashed by 84 per cent.The only good news came for the residential real estate sector, in which sales increased by 26 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2015, although a high percentage of the improvement was the result of government land sales to developers.

The depressing results are being blamed on last year’s massive fall in oil prices as well as on China’s market turmoil.
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