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Singapore the fifth most expensive city globally, cars cost the most globally: Report

Singapore’s iconic Merlion with an inset of couple standing next to an expensive car. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Singapore is the fifth most expensive city in the world, according to a Julius Baer report. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Singapore is now the fifth most expensive city in the world, moving up four places from last year, a report released by Swiss private bank Julius Baer showed.

The Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report 2022 also found Singapore cars were the most expensive globally. Cars topped the list based on the price of a BMW X7 obtained from the relevant country website of the manufacturer.

A check by Yahoo Finance Singapore shows that a BMWX7 starts from S$548,888 in Singapore and in the US, it starts from US$74,900 (S$104,000).

The report, which ranked 24 cities, but excluded Moscow this year and was released Wednesday (15 June), found that Asia was still the most expensive region in the world, with Asian cities holding six of the top 10 in the list.


Shanghai retained first place in the global ranking, maintaining its status from last year, while London, Taipei and Hong Kong took second, third and fourth place respectively.

Other notable Asian cities, such as Tokyo, fell six places to eighth most expensive city this year, while Bangkok fell four places to 15th place.

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In the report’s foreword, Julius Baer’s Head of Wealth Management Solutions Nicolas de Skowronski said, “Identified by this report in previous years as an underlying financial trend, life for everyone continues to become more expensive. Ongoing global uncertainty, prompted by the pandemic, and sustained by rising inflation and increased geopolitical tension, has only sharpened the need for investors to protect their purchasing power and, in the long-term, actively plan to preserve their wealth.”

The report, which is Julius Baer’s third annual report, also ranked countries according to luxury items. It found that Singapore was the most expensive country for cars, followed by Sao Paolo and Jakarta.

A graphic of the top 3 things more expensive in Singapore than elsewhere, and their global rank.
Singapore cars were ranked the most expensive, among the cities surveyed.

The other items considered were: jewellery, ladies’ handbag, shoes, men’s suit, wine, whisky, business class flight, health insurance, hotel suite, Lasik, lawyer, MBA, degustation dinner, treadmill, watch, technology package, bicycle.

Generally, prices increased between 2 per cent and 53 per cent year-on-year for most items in Singapore, with the most drastic surge in whisky.

Only the prices for four items – ladies’ handbags, wine, MBA and health insurance – dropped from between 2 per cent to 20 per cent from last year.

A graphic of 3 things that cost less in Singapore than other cities and their global ranking.
Treadmills, health insurance and watches are cheaper in Singapore than in other cities.

Overall, the biggest price increases globally was in technology packages, which includes electronic items. There was a 41 per cent increase year-on-year for technology packages, which the report attributed to the launch of a new MacBook.

The second biggest price increase was in lawyers fees, which had a 32.6 per cent rise year-on-year. The next biggest were in bicycles, whisky and degustation dinners, which showed 30.4 per cent, 27.4 per cent and 26 per cent increases year-on-year respectively.

The report also contained Baer's first lifestyle survey, which assessed how the spending habits of high net worth individuals have changed in the last year in comparison to before the pandemic.

One observation was that the demand for technology grew across all regions, in correlation with the price increase. This was likely due to the pandemic, which saw a rise in working from home. The change also led to more frequent upgrading of personal technology from smart phones to Wi-Fi-enabled equipment. The investment in technology will likely persist as people continue to work away from offices, the report added.

The report concluded that complexity and uncertainty will persist, with the pandemic, stretched supply chains, inflation and geopolitical uncertainty factoring in.

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