The 10 most expensive cities in the world

If you thought the likes of London were expensive, then think again. The English capital doesn’t even make the top 10 in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2014 Worldwide Cost of living survey. It looked at over 130 cities and based its findings on more than 400 different price indicators, only to find that Singapore deserved the dubious distinction of being ‘top’, overcoming last year’s ‘winner’, Tokyo. In fact, Tokyo had dropped to joint 6th.

1. Singapore

If you’re living in Singapore, the chances are you’ll have little disposable income. Cars cost around four or five times as much as in Europe or the US, and the cost of housing is sky high. Imported goods are expensive but local food and transport relatively reasonable.


2. Paris

Paris earns its high ranking in the survey due to the price per square metre for a city centre apartment. You’re looking at around 5% more than in London, making it one of the most expensive places to buy an apartment in the world.


3. Oslo

The presence of Oslo will come as no surprise to many, particularly if you’ve ever gone out for a few drinks in the city. A beer will cost you around 82 NOK (approximately $14).

4. Zurich

Switzerland enjoys high salaries and low rates of tax, but that still doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the most expensive places in the world to live. Food, insurance and other services are all much higher than in most other European countries, putting Zurich high on the list.

5. Sydney

As the country’s most expensive place to buy property, Sydney is one of two cities in Australia to make the top 10. Throughout Australia, you’ll also find alcohol and tobacco attracts higher taxes, and even simple pleasures such as going to the cinema can be around 50% dearer than in, say, New York.


6= Tokyo

Once top of the Economist’s survey, the Japanese capital remains notoriously expensive when it comes to property but the weaker yen brings it down to joint sixth in the rankings.


6= Geneva

With apartments costing around 11,500 euros per square meter in Geneva, it’s only the wealthy that tend to buy.  On the plus side, though, Geneva is the only European city in the top 10 where unleaded petrol costs less than $2 per litre.


6= Melbourne

The cost of some items has come down in Melbourne but it still remains one of the most expensive places in the world to live. With cigarettes at around $18 AUD a packet, smokers may want to steer clear – or move there if they’re looking for an added incentive to kick the habit.


6= Caracas

As the most expensive place in the Americas, the Venezuelan capital of Caracas is a place where renting a typical one-bedroom apartment costs in the region of 2.5 times the average wage. Unofficial and black market exchange rates, however, may help to make living costs a little more tolerable.

10. Copenhagen

In the last Economist report, the Danish capital was in 15th place, but it now rises into the top 10.  Drinks in Copenhagen costs around double what they do in the UK, but the city did come first in the UN’s first World Happiness Report so clearly it’s not all doom and gloom!


Comments (12)

  1. Erkut ozen says:

    Where is Moscow and Istanbul? Yes, Singapur, Tokyo, Oslo is very expensive cities but never not cheap moscow and istanbul. Maybe it’s most expensive from caracas and copenhagen..

  2. Claire Lewis says:

    Perth. Western Australia is in the Worlds top ten. We are more expensive than Sydney and Melbourne…

  3. Paul Johnson says:

    Not according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2014 Worldwide Cost of living survey, Claire.

  4. Fortunately, Barcelona is not in the list but have nothing to envy to many of them. Although is smaller than most of them its offer is amazing!

  5. Sara Hardman says:

    Really interesting and surprising to see that London doesn’t make the top 10.
    I lived in Sydney for two years and was horrified at paying $3 for a small bottle of water. I managed because my salary was much higher than it was in the UK but if you’re taking a holiday it makes a big impact on the budget.

  6. Carmen says:

    Pretty sure Perth should be in this top 10 list! I paid $12 for a loaf of bread when I went home last…

  7. Chris says:

    I’m not sure whether I believe this survey. How can Singapore be more expensive than Geneva, for example? Quite how do they quantify this?

    Property is obviously obscenely pricey in Singapore, but most locals will live with their parents or depend on social housing. Locals can also eat out for about $2-3 (£1-1.50).

    Comparing Singapore to south east Asia, it’s definitely extremely expensive. But the most expensive in the world? How do they work out these lists?

  8. Rob says:

    Perth is definitely in the top 10, named last year as the most expensive city in the Southern Hemisphere. $17 for a pint of beer and up to $8.50 for a coffee!!!!

  9. John says:

    I totally agree. Perth should be added. I live in Melbourne and agree that cost of living is higher than California-San Francisco and Southern California. The cost if food is insane!

  10. John says:

    Well I live in a small city, but even if it were big, I wouldn’t mind if it was not in this list. Being expensive does not make something necessarily classy. However, all classy things are usually expensive…not always though!

  11. Nichlas says:

    Denmark should be no. 1… We pay more than 50% of our wages in taxes, we have a VAT of 25% on everything and we have a “car tax” on 180% on the value of the car…

  12. shara says:

    Is there any basis for this ?or any surveys? Anyway, all of these places are brilliant, and there’s nothing to worry because my favorite place is on the list.

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