S'pore again most expensive city for expats, 4th year in a row: 2017 Economist Intelligence Unit report

We are number one, fourth year in a row.

Belmont Lay | March 21, 2017, 02:38 PM

Singapore has yet again emerged as the world’s most expensive city to live in for the fourth consecutive year, according to Worldwide Cost of Living for 2017 report compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Singapore, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Japan are the top four countries.

The survey compares consumer prices across 160 products and services in 133 cities around the world.

The EIU measures the cost of living in cities by comparing them to the cost of living in New York.

The silver lining is that even though Singapore is the most expensive, certain items such as food and drink, are still comparatively cheaper than around the region.

The report said:

Singapore retains its title as the world’s most expensive city for a fourth consecutive year in a top ten that may have a familiar feel to it.


Despite topping the ranking, Singapore still offers relative value in some categories, especially compared with its regional peers. For categories such as personal care, household goods and domestic help Singapore remains significantly cheaper than its peers, although it remains the most expensive place in the world to buy and run a car, as well as the second-priciest destination in which to buy clothes. In terms of food and drink the cost of living in Singapore is on a par with that of Shanghai in China. Seoul, Tokyo and Osaka present the three most expensive places in the world to buy staple goods. In Seoul, topping up a grocery basket is almost 50% more expensive than in New York.


Background of the survey

The annual survey compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services. The prices include "food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help and recreational costs."

The survey helps finance and human resource managers to calculate cost-of-living allowances and compensation packages for expatriates and people who travel on business.

EIU researchers survey a range of stores – supermarkets, mid-priced stores and higher-priced speciality outlets – for over 50,000 individual prices every March and September.

You can download a copy of the report for free but you’d need to register first.

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Top photo via Pixabay