Top 10 most expensive cities in the world: Singapore named costliest place to live – but what about London?

Prices may seem high here, but UK capital doesn't make top 10 worldwide

Adam Withnall
Tuesday 04 March 2014 09:57 GMT
Sky high: Singapore has been named the world's most expensive city to live in
Sky high: Singapore has been named the world's most expensive city to live in (Singapore tourist office)

The island city of Singapore has been named the world’s most expensive city to live in, according to the latest data from a comprehensive study, while London did not even make the top 10.

The results from the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2014 Worldwide Cost of Living survey, released today, placed Singapore ahead of 130 other cities based on more than 400 different price indicators, from basic groceries to the cost of heating.

Singapore is the most expensive place in the world to buy clothes, relies heavily on imported goods and has an increasingly strong currency. The EIU said the city’s transport costs are around three times higher than New York, which it used as a benchmark for comparisons.

“Singapore’s rise is partially attributable to the continued strength of the Singapore dollar, but the city has seen price rises too which have no doubt been compounded by a reliance on imports,” Jon Copestake, editor of the EIU report, told Bloomberg.

The city replaced Tokyo, last year’s winner, which has been pushed out into joint-sixth place. Making up the rest of the top five were Paris, Oslo, Zurich and Sydney in fifth.

London, meanwhile, was ranked 15th – and the only other UK city to be included in the results was Manchester, way down in 49th. The results do show London is getting comparatively more expensive to live in - it was 16th last year.

Caracas, Venezuela, is the only city in the Americas to feature in the top 10, but the EIU explained that its position is largely due to the imposition of an artificially high official exchange rate.

“If alternative black market rates were applied, Caracas would comfortably become the world's cheapest city in which to live,” the report said. Beyond Caracas, the most expensive city in the Americas is New York in 26th place, with the US city becoming more expensive than Vancouver in Canada over the last year.

While a mix of European, Asian and Australasian locations make up the majority of the top 10 list, cities in the Middle East and the Asian subcontinent dominate as the cheapest places to live.

Inequality between the richest and poorest in India’s major cities like Mumbai and New Delhi ensures prices are kept low, while spending is also stifled by rafts of government subsidies.

The ongoing Syrian crisis was also reflected in the figures, which saw Damascus suffer the largest drop in prices to take fourth place on the cheapest list.

Speaking about the overall trends, Mr Copestake said: “Improving sentiment in structurally expensive European cities combined with the continued rise of Asian hubs means that these two regions continue to supply most of the world's most expensive cities.”

“But Asian cities also continue to make up many of the world's cheapest, especially in the Indian subcontinent,” he said.

The top 10 least expensive cities

1 Mumbai

2 Karachi

3 New Delhi

4 Damascus

5 Kathmandu

6 Algiers

7 Bucharest

8 Panama City

9 Jeddah

10 Riyadh

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