The most expensive city in the world to live in, even for wealthy individuals

Singaporeans pay 10% more for women’s handbags and shoes, and more than 5% for men’s suits and watches.

Huiying ore | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Sky-high property prices, sky-high car ownership costs and expensive private healthcare, among other factors, have made Singapore the most expensive city for the super-rich in 2024, according to a report by Julius Baer.

The Swiss bank analyzed the prices of 20 consumer goods and services purchased and used by wealthy individuals in 25 cities. to reach the ranking.

The “cost of living extremely well”, which includes cars, whisky, jewelry and housing, is on the rise in Singapore, the bank said in its Global Wealth and Lifestyle report released on Tuesday, adding that the city-state continues to attract investors. ultra-rich due to its economic and political stability.

“Singapore’s government is working hard to make the country attractive to international businesses and the wealthy, and the currency remains strong. All of this is reflected in its status as the world’s most expensive city,” the report said.

The price of car ownership in Singapore – the most expensive in the world at 2.5 times the average – soared 15% from the previous year in US dollars. The cost of private education has increased by almost 14%, while women’s handbags and shoes have increased by 10%. Prices of men’s suits and watches increased by more than 5%.

Singapore was followed by Hong Kong, which eclipsed Shanghai to become the second most expensive city for the wealthy. It was ranked as the most expensive city to hire a lawyer and the second most expensive to buy property.

Prices of hotel suites (+22.9%), ladies’ shoes (+12.7%) and ladies’ handbags (+8.6%) saw the largest increases in the city.

London moved up one place this year to third, thanks in part to the UK’s exit from a technical recession last month, the strengthening of the pound sterling in 2023 and continued economic adjustments following normalizations post-Brexit, underlines the report.

Education at the city’s private schools was the most expensive in the world, with costs rising almost 14% from the previous year.

Hotel suites and jewelry in London were the second most expensive items among the 25 cities, with prices increasing by 38.3% and 17% respectively.

Here is Julius Baer’s list of the 10 most expensive cities in the world for high net worth individuals:

  1. Singapore
  2. Hong Kong
  3. London
  4. Shanghai
  5. Monaco
  6. Zurich
  7. new York
  8. Paris
  9. Sao Paulo
  10. Milan

Where is Tokyo?

While the Asia-Pacific region’s largest financial centres took the top two spots, Tokyo – once known as “the poster child for an ultra-expensive city in the 1990s” – fell eight places to 23rd this year.

According to the report, the fall of the Japanese yen has made the city much less expensive.

The currency weakened to 160 against the U.S. dollar in April for the first time since 1990, and has plunged 13.25% against the greenback since the start of the year, according to Refinitiv data.

“As trivial as it may seem, we tend to forget that the cost of living is completely different in the eyes of a foreigner – especially if that person is thinking in US dollars or Swiss francs rather than the local currency. Currency and context matter,” Christian Gattiker, head of research at Julius Baer, ​​pointed out.

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