Singapore Ranks As World's Most Expensive City

Juliana Rose Pignataro

For the fifth year running, Singapore has ranked as the most expensive city in the entire world, beating out cosmopolitan hubs like New York and Paris. Singapore was joined by several other Asian big cities, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey released Tuesday.

The top 10 most expensive urban spots were, respectively: Singapore, Hong Kong, Zurich, Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Geneva, Paris, New York and Copenhagen. The rankings have remained stable for the most part when compared with last year’s, though London and Los Angeles were both notably absent from the 2017 list.

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The survey analyzed prices in 133 cities around the world, comparing more than 150 items and their cost.

Singapore’s extravagant cost is due in large part to the exorbitant expense of owning a car in the city. The government has attempted to curb vehicle use there in order to limit increasingly common traffic jams, leading to skyrocketing costs.

Fees associated with owning a car in Singapore now include a certificate of entitlement, a vehicle quota system, road taxes and electronic pricing as well as registration with the Land Transport Authority. Owning a new Toyota Corolla or equivalent new car in the United States would cost around $28,000, according to data gathering website Numbeo. That same car would cost a hefty $114,000 in Singapore.

“Singapore’s position is skewed slightly by the complex system for buying and registering cars as well as relatively high incomes, which means that it remains relatively affordable for many residents,” said Jon Copestake, editor of the survey, according to Bloomberg.

New York, the only city located in North America that made the rankings, slid from seventh place in 2016 to ninth place in 2017. Bloomberg attributed the decrease to a slight weakening of the dollar.


Tourists flock to the Merlion fountain in Singapore, Feb. 26, 2013. The city once again tops the list for more expensive in the world. Photo: Getty Images

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