Today, The Economist Intelligence Unit named those cities as the most expensive in the world. It’s the first time that three urban centers have shared the top spot.
Singapore, the city whose wealth got the Hollywood treatment in Crazy Rich Asians, maintained its number one ranking from last year. What makes it so costly, exactly?
“Singapore remains consistently expensive in several categories. It is the most expensive place in the world to buy and run a car, thanks to Singapore’s complex Certificate of Entitlement system,” Robert Wood, Principal Economist at The Economist Intelligence Unit, says. “Transport costs in Singapore are 2.4 times higher than in New York. Alongside Seoul and Japanese cities, Singapore and Hong Kong are also very expensive locations to buy clothes and pay for utility costs.”
Two American cities, New York and Los Angeles, made the top ten at 7 and 10, respectively. None were on the list in 2018.
Why the change? The strengthening of the dollar, according to Wood. “This trend can be attributed to a stronger local currency, as well as to changes in the ranking elsewhere rather than U.S. cities becoming more expensive domestically.” Although, Wood notes, San Francisco and Houston moved up in the rankings (the latter at 25, the former at 30) partly due to higher living costs.
One of the most expensive things, comparatively, in New York City? A woman’s haircut. On average, that costs $210 for New Yorkers, whereas it costs $96.01 in Singapore and $119.04 in Paris. Men spending stateside also owe a pretty penny: the average two piece business suit in New York costs $2,729.77. In Singapore, it’s $1,161.14, and in Paris, it’s $2,000.65. So Americans, perhaps don’t feel too guilty about shopping while abroad.
The full list, below:
1. Singapore, Singapore
1. Paris, France
1. Hong Kong, China
4. Zurich, Switzerland
5. Geneva, Switzerland
5. Osaka, Japan
7. Seoul, South Korea
7. Copenhagen, Denmark
7. New York, United States of America
10. Tel Aviv, Israel
10. Los Angeles, United States of America
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