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ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Luxury living in Singapore just got costlier: Julius Baer report

A BMW 7-series sedan is priced at $595,069 (US$436,105), which is 4.3% higher compared to other regions.

Singapore came in at second place after Shanghai as Asia’s most expensive city for luxury living, according to Julius Baer’s latest Wealth Report Asia.

“Our basket of goods and services in Singapore rose by 5.4% YoY in USD terms, led by strong price increases in golf club memberships (26.1%) and hotel suites (11.8%),” the firm noted in its report.

Singapore beat out Hong Kong on the back of pricier luxury car ownership, namely for a BMW 7-series sedan, and top-dollar Michelin standard fine dining experiences.

The lion city is the most expensive city to purchase a car on the back of heavy levies and duties on automobile purchases. According to the report, a BMW 7-series sedan is priced at $595,069 (US$436,105), which is 4.3% higher compared to other regions. The price hike for luxury vehicles was mainly attributed to higher taxes placed on emissions-heavy cars as a result of the government’s new vehicular emissions scheme.

Meanwhile, he reason behind the exorbitant $386.16 (US$283) price tag for fine dining was attributed to high rental costs, quality ingredient import costs, labour pricing and foreign labour restrictions, the report revealed.

“One would be hard-pressed to find a bargain in Singapore, albeit pianos and jewellery are relatively price competitive compared to the rest of the region,” Julius Baer said in the report.

In terms of property ownership, Singapore came in third behind Hong Kong and Tokyo. Hong Kong retained its top spot as the

Shanghai is the most expensive city to buy six out of the 22 items analysed by the report: hospital rooms, watches, handbags, wine, jewellery and skin cream.

Measured based on how expensive Cartier’s Love Bracelet costs per city, the piece of jewellery was found to be the most expensive in Shanghai at $65,691(US$48,143) due to an approximate 40% import tariff on luxury jewellery.

“According to luxury auction house Sotheby’s, Asia clients account for about a third of global high-end jewellery sales,” the report noted. “China and India comprise two of the world’s largest jewellery markets, with a combined market share of close to $218.32b (US$160b).”

Hong Kong retained its top spot as the most expensive city to purchase a high-end property in Asia. According to the report, property prices continued to climb, reaching $74,102 (US$54,307) psm.

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur retained it claim as the least expensive city in Asia, with prices for property, hotel suites, wine, jewellery, pianos and cigars being the lowest out of the 11 cities measured in the report.

Nevertheless, Singapore remains appealing for both talents and investments, and its economy is projected to grow 3% in 2018 before slowing to 2.5% in 2019, according to the report.

“In the short run, a strengthening USD, worsening trade spat and China’s economic slowdown will be a drag on the SGD,” Julius Baer stated. “However in the longer term, we believe strong fundamentals and greater economic productivity will support the SGD.” 

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