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Singapore is the fifth most expensive expat city in the world: ECA International

Increased demand for rental accommodation in the Lion City was not matched by corresponding increases in the supply of suitable accommodation, says ECA. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)

SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Singapore has moved up eight positions to become the fifth most expensive city in the world for expatriates. This was one of the findings of the latest cost of living research published by ECA International.

“Singapore’s rise is notable. Increased demand for rental accommodation in the Lion City, driven by factors such as the earlier relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions compared to other key locations in the region, was not matched by corresponding increases in the supply of suitable accommodation,” says ECA International's regional director of Asia Lee Quane.

Hong Kong dropped from its top spot in last year’s rankings by ECA to become the second most expensive city. It was surpassed by New York this year, marking the end of Hong Kong’s four-year reign at the top.


“Costs for goods and services in Hong Kong rose at multi-year highs, showing that the city was not spared from the wave of inflation we have seen throughout the world in the past year,” says Quane. However, the city fell this year because the increase in prices of day-to-day goods and services was tempered by falls in accommodation costs, he adds.

In general, cities in the Asia Pacific region saw their rankings tumble this year, but South Korea’s Seoul and Myanmar’s Yangon bucked the trend to climb up a few places. Seoul climbed one place to ninth in the rankings, and Yangon rose four places to 167.

An increase in accommodation costs in Seoul, brought about by a tightening of rental supply, was the underlying factor supporting the higher cost of living. While in Yangon, the rise was due to ongoing socio-political issues causing significant inflation for day-to-day goods and services.

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