Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong Are World’s Most Expensive Cities -- Again

Expensive Paris real estate (Photo: Reuters)

With their incredibly high real estate prices, it's little wonder Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong remain the world's most expensive cities to live in. But the difference is that this time, all three are tied for Number One.

The Economist Intelligence Unit's 2019 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey revealed this dubious distinction. The annual survey evaluates the cost of over 150 items in 133 cities around the world. Over the past few years, the top 10 most expensive cities have been located in Europe and Asia.

Paris has been in the top 10 since 2003, the longest stretch for any city. It even moved up to Number One this year. Hong Kong, the last year's fourth most expensive city, rose three positions, leading to a tie at the top for the first time.

New York was the seventh most expensive and Los Angeles, the tenth. Both are the only North American cities in the top 10. New York rose six spots to joint seventh place with Copenhagen. Los Angeles tied with Tel Aviv.

The survey showed that U.S. cities are among the most expensive when it comes to utilities and domestic help.

In Europe, Zurich and Geneva were a joint fourth and joint fifth (with Osaka), respectively. These cities were the most expensive as regards household, personal care, recreation, and entertainment expenses.

Istanbul has become a lot less expensive, dropping 48 places to joint 120th on the list. This was due in part to the fall in the value of the Turkish lira.

Uzbekistan's Tashkent also experienced a big drop, falling 19 places to 131st, while Moscow is down 16 spots to 102nd.

Moving up the list is Bulgarian capital Sofia, which has climbed 29 spots to shared 90th position, thanks to an increase in the price of groceries, utilities, and recreation.

"We note converging costs in traditionally more expensive cities like Paris, Singapore, Zurich, Geneva, Copenhagen, and Hong Kong. It is a testament to globalization and the similarity of tastes and shopping patterns," said Roxana Slavcheva, editor of the survey.

"More remarkable is the severe fall in the ranking of emerging economy cities -- Istanbul, Tashkent, Moscow and St. Petersburg -- owing to sustained high inflations and currency depreciation."

Caracas, Venezuela's capital, is at the bottom of the list this year. This was a spot previously occupied by war-torn Damascus for obvious reasons. The report said deteriorating economic conditions in Venezuela and hyperinflation are at the root of the city's position at the bottom.

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