The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live Around The World

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Despite living in London, and moaning every time a pint sets me back £5.50, I apparently could have it a lot worse, because there are still loads more expensive cities to live in the world, which only makes me feel slightly better about my whole drinking situation.

It seems that privileged living comes at a price (who’d have thought it) and if you want to live in some of the most desirable places in the world, then you’re going to have to cough up some pretty big bucks for it.

Based on the prices of around 160 products and services including food, drink, clothing, house prices, house appliances and personal care items, these are the ten most expensive places to live in the world.

Just don’t plan on travelling to them if you’re on a shoestring budget.

1. Singapore

Singapore is consistently ranked at the top of most lists as the most expensive place to live in the world, and has topped the list for the fourth year in a row, which probably isn’t great news to the people living there. Known as the Lion City, it’s the world’s only island city-state, whilst holding the 3rd highest GDP per capita and consistently ranking highly in education, healthcare, life expectancy, quality of life, personal safety, and housing. A bottle of 750ml wine will, however, set you back at least $23.68 (£18.70) so cheap pre-drinks are absolutely out of the question.

2. Hong Kong

Hong Kong is notorious for having ridiculously expensive housing prices whilst being incredibly competitive due to the large number of people that live there. The city has an extremely high density of skyscrapers and boasts the second largest number of high rises of any city in the world, so the skyline is a pretty remarkable thing to behold. Just over 65 % of locals’ living costs each month are set aside for accommodation – which is essentially the same for me too.

3. Zürich

The first of two Swiss cities to feature on the list, Zürich is the most expensive place to live in Europe. Founded by the Romans and settled for around 2000 years, it is one of the world’s financial capitals and home to a large number of financial institutions and banking giants. It is often ranked as a city with one of the “best qualities of life” in the world whilst also being the most “liveable city”, but apparently a McDonalds will set you back about $15 (£11.90), so you know, swings and roundabouts.

4. Tokyo

One of the busiest and most happening cities in the world, Tokyo is one of the main hubs of the Far East. In 2011, it was ranked as the number one most expensive place in the world and with a population exceeding 13 million, Japan’s capital is the most highly populated metropolitan area in the world. It is also home to 51 of the Fortune Global 500 companies, the highest number of any city in the world, whilst the Michelin Guide has awarded Tokyo the most Michelin stars of any city in the world so at least you’ll get a good meal, even if it might cost you an arm and a leg.

5. Osaka

Another major Japanese city, the enviable lifestyle its inhabitants have make Osaka an extremely attractive place to live, making it all the more expensive. Osaka is the second largest metropolitan area in Japan and has over 19 million inhabitants, with its cityscape being described as “only surpassed by Tokyo as a showcase of the Japanese urban phenomenon.” Fuel, taxi fares, hotels, alcohol and coffee are all particularly expensive here.

6. Seoul

The South Korean capital moved down two places in 2017, becoming the 6th most expensive place in the world. In 2014 it had the world’s 4th largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$845.9 billion and a year later was rated as Asia’s most liveable city with the second highest quality of life. It’s tied with Singapore as the most expensive city for buying clothes and is notoriously dear for everyday food items- costing an average of $13 (£10.30) for a 1kg loaf of bread – which should discourage anyone from ever eating it again.

7. Geneva

Also known as the “Peace Capital”, Geneva is the second most expensive place in Europe. Arguably the most stylish city in Switzerland, it is estimated that residents spend around 15% of their living costs on dining out at restaurants.   A 2009 survey by Mercer found that Geneva has the third-highest quality of life of any city in the world (behind Vienna and Zürich) and is often ranked as world’s most liveable city. The cost of renting an apartment in Geneva is higher than in New York or Paris and twice as much as in Amsterdam or Brussels.

8. Paris

One of the wealthiest cities in Europe, Paris always ranks highly on lists of the world’s most expensive cities. It was second in 2014 and 2015 and ranked 5th last year. With a dense history, Paris is still one of Europe’s major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, and is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. It boasts similar prices to London, with a beer costing around €6 (£5.30) and a meal for two in a mid-range restaurant setting you back about €60 (£52.95).

9. New York

With a population of nearly 9 million people, The Big Apple is America’s most populated city and the financial capital of the U.S. Described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, New York is one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the planet and hosts three of the world’s ten most visited tourist attractions. Rent accounts for around 69% of resident’s monthly expenses which is in part the reason why it has moved to number 9 on the list of the world’s most expensive cities, after dropping to 22 in 2015. The average cost of a 1kg loaf of bread is $7.95 (£6.30).

10. Copenhagen

Originally founded in the 10th century as a fishing village by the Vikings, Copenhagen became Denmark’s capital in the 15th century. The city is the cultural and economic centre of Denmark and one of the major financial centres of Northern Europe. It is a bustling city with a good quality of life and with a population of around 2 million, it is significantly smaller than many of the cities on this list. Bad news for you coffee fans though, a regular cappuccino costs about €6 (£5.30).

Do you know of any other expensive cities in the world? Let us know in the comments below!

Images via iStock

Source via Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Worldwide Cost Of Living” survey

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