In a first, Singapore on Tuesday emerged as the most expensive city globally for luxury living, surpassing Shanghai and Hong Kong, according to a report by Julius Baer Group Ltd, a Swiss wealth manager.
The city-state was ranked fifth in the previous year, while Shanghai was on the top as per the Global Wealth and Lifestyle 2023 report.
Singapore’s success in reopening its borders during the pandemic has contributed to its attractiveness to high-net-worth individuals.
By the end of 2022, the city counted around 1,500 family offices, twice the number from the previous year.
Singapore is particularly known for its high car prices, with residential property and essential health insurance also being significantly more expensive compared to the global average.
Julius Baer’s Lifestyle Index evaluates the 25 most expensive cities worldwide based on various factors such as residential property, car prices, business class flights, fine dining experiences, and more.
The Asia region has maintained its position as the most costly for luxury living for the fourth consecutive year. Notably, New York witnessed a significant rise, ranking fifth compared to its 11th position in the previous year, attributed to a strengthening dollar and a post-pandemic rebound.
“The greatest price increase are in high-demand, premium consumables such as wine and whisky, as well as luxury cars and hospitality services,” the report said.
London, on the other hand, slipped to the fourth spot from second place due to the impact of Brexit and ongoing uncertainty. The city faces tough competition from emerging financial centres like Dubai and Singapore.
For the first time since the inception of the report, the most affordable region to live luxuriously is Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, with European cities dropping in the rankings.
Dubai experienced a notable surge, entering the top 10 and becoming the seventh most expensive city, surpassing Zurich, which now ranks 14th. The influx of wealthy individuals relocating to Dubai has influenced property prices and demand, positioning the emirate as a “star performer” in this year’s index.
The report also highlighted a rise in demand for travel, entertainment, and luxury items such as wine and whiskey, while bicycle prices, which surged during the pandemic, experienced a slight decline.
“We see that spending on hospitality has risen in all five regions surveyed in the past 12 months and is particularly strong in APAC and the Middle East,” said the report
“More than half of respondents in APAC have spent more on fine dining and hotels, while in the Middle East 74 per cent of respondents say they spent more on fine dining and 69 per cent spent more on five-star hotels,” the report added.
Overall, the report reflects an increase in experiential spending as people embrace their newfound freedom and indulge in social experiences, with hotel suites and business class flights among the areas experiencing significant price hikes.