A report by the Economist Intelligence Unit has revealed the most (and least) expensive cities in the world in 2019. For the first time, three cities share the title of the world’s most expensive city – Singapore, Hong Kong and Paris. The French capital has featured among the top ten most expensive cities since 2003.
When deciding on where to go on holiday, the price of eating out, hotels, beer and taxis all determine how expensive the destination is going to be. Most people have a fair idea of how pricey places are going to be, but what is the reality? And where are the cheapest cities to visit?
The top ten is largely split between Asia and Europe, with Singapore the only city in the top ten that has maintained its ranking from the previous year. Osaka has moved up six places since last year, and now shares fifth place with Geneva.
In seventh and joint tenth place respectively, New York and Los Angeles are the only cities in the top ten from North America. A stronger US dollar last year has meant that cities in the US generally became more expensive globally, especially relative to last year’s ranking.
Tel Aviv, which was ranked 28th just five years ago, sits alongside LA as the joint tenth most expensive city in the world. Currency appreciation played a part in this but the cost of transport in Tel Aviv, for example, has pushed it above New York prices.
The most expensive cities in the world in 2019
1. Hong Kong
7. New York
10. Tel Aviv
10. Los Angeles
In 2018, inflation and devaluations were key factors in determining the cost of living, with many cities sliding down the ranking as a consequence of economic turmoil, currency weakness and falling local prices. Countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Turkey and Venezuela all saw a sharp fall in their cost of living ranking.
Caracas, in Venezuela, is the least expensive city in the world. The EIU says: “Following inflation nearing 1,000,000 per cent last year and the Venezuelan government launching a new currency, the situation continues to change almost daily.
“The new currency value has varied so much since its creation and the economy was demonetised compelling people to use commodities and exchange services and personal items like clothing, auto parts and jewellery to purchase basic goods such as groceries.”
In total, 133 cities were surveyed, with the price of bread, beer, a men’s suit and a woman’s hair cut all compared. In total, the survey looked at more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services encompassing food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help and recreational costs.
The cheapest cities in the world in 2019
125. Buenos Aires
123. New Delhi
Where should you go on holiday? The EIU says Bulgaria is an economically stable eastern European country, which pegs its currency, the Bulgarian lev, to the euro but is yet to join the Eurozone. This means the capital, Sofia, offers good value for money. India and South East Asia are also very affordable.