Singapore surged to top the rankings as the most expensive city in the world for luxury living for the first time as it vies to be a leading global center for the rich. The city-state ranked fifth in 2022, leapfrogged ahead of Shanghai and Hong Kong, which are in second and third spots, respectively. The pricey cities attract wealthy international bankers, business people, and families with a strong appetite for the finer things in life. The list is compiled by Swiss wealth manager Julius Baer Group Ltd, which calculates prices for food, housing, transport, and utilities. It also considers exchange rates and other factors, such as taxes and the cost of a legal system.
The Singapore dollar is one of the strongest in the world, making it a costly place to live. But its residents enjoy a luxurious lifestyle, from renowned cuisine to the best in entertainment and retail. The country’s affluent residents also have the advantage of being able to buy property at home and abroad since the currency is pegged to the euro and the US dollar.
A city’s ranking depends on a combination of factors, including the cost of living and the number of affluent residents. In addition to its low unemployment rate and excellent education, Singapore’s reputation for being a safe and secure place to live attracts wealthy investors. It has been a popular location for foreigners to set up family offices and invest in real estate, according to KPMG’s Family Office and Private Clients report.
While the Covid-19 pandemic was a wake-up call for many ultra-high-net-worth individuals, it also reinforced the importance of establishing family offices and having robust succession plans. Amid the heightened awareness, Singapore has emerged as an attractive destination for UHNWIs, with its global network of advisers and a competitive investment environment.
UHNWIs have also been drawn to the city-state for its high living standards, education, healthcare, and strategic geographical position as a gateway to Asian markets. Many have also established their family offices in Singapore to take advantage of its tax benefits, which include a flat rate of 15 percent for wealth-transfer taxes.
Beijing, the second most expensive city for luxury living, has a high cost of living, with the most significant expense being housing. However, the city’s proximity to UNESCO World Heritage sites and the relatively low cost of living on the city’s outskirts make it a good choice for those looking for an affordable location with access to everything the city offers.
Tokyo, Japan, is a vibrant metropolis with a captivating mix of modern and traditional Japanese culture. Its upscale restaurants and retail, efficient transit, and friendly people make it a desirable place to live. But all of that comes at a price, with the highest expenses for housing and transport.
Tel Aviv is a beautiful, lively city famous for its vibrant nightlife and renowned cuisine. But all that fun comes at a price, with the Israeli city ranked ninth for its high living costs. Rents are higher than in other European cities, while essential grocery items and imported goods are more expensive.