Romesh Navaratnarajah • December 5, 2018
Singapore has been ranked as Asia’s second most expensive city to maintain an upscale lifestyle, revealed the latest Julius Baer Lifestyle Index.
In fact, the city-state rose one spot in the rankings partly due to the stronger Singapore dollar and an improvement across the board in price rankings of luxury goods and services.
“On a price-weighted basis, Singapore is now the second most expensive city in Asia. Unsurprisingly, it is the most expensive city to purchase a car, owing to heavy levies and duties on automobile purchases. It is also the third most expensive city to secure a luxury property. Individuals looking to enjoy an evening out at a two Michelin-starred restaurant would also be forking out the highest prices in the region.
“One would be hard-pressed to find a bargain in Singapore, albeit pianos (4th cheapest regionally) jewellery (5th cheapest regionally) are relatively price competitive compared to the rest of the region,” said Julius Baer.
Nonetheless, the Swiss multinational private bank highlighted that the city-state remains an attractive choice for both investments and talented staff as it was named Asia’s most liveable city, and ranked second for ease of doing business.
However, the US-China trade dispute could negatively impact Singapore’s exports, while prices of goods and services could increase at a higher rate of 1.5 percent in 2019 compared to 1.0 percent in 2018 due to rising power costs.
“In the short run, a strengthening US dollar, worsening trade spat and China’s economic slowdown will be a drag on the Singapore dollar. However, in the longer term, we believe strong fundamentals and greater economic productivity will support the Singapore dollar,” it noted.
Meanwhile, Shanghai rose one spot and took the lead as Asia’s second most expensive city for luxury living. While Hong Kong dropped two places to third place, it is still the costliest city in terms of property prices.
“Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore remain the three most expensive cities for property in Asia, whereas Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Jakarta are the most price competitive cities,” said Julius Baer.
The Julius Baer Lifestyle Index takes into account the prices of luxury goods and services across 11 cities in Asia. These include business class flights, residential property, wedding banquets, hotel suites, Lasik eye surgery, hospital rooms, golf club membership, legal services, wine, jewellery and accessories, clothes, Botox, piano, car, cigar, shoes, skin cream and degustation dinner.