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Expat living is cheaper in Singapore than Hong Kong: study

A cup of coffee in Singapore costs about $6.77, compared to a $9.48 cup of coffee in Hong Kong.

Although Singapore moved one notch in the world's costliest cities for expats, the city still trails behind Hong Kong which holds the distinction as the world's priciest, according to Mercer's annual cost of living survey. Singapore also trails behind Tokyo which occupies second place.

The high cost of living in Singapore was fueled by sustained demand for quality housing and rising affluence.

Singapore was hailed as the second most expensive housing market in the world, with price basis of about $1404 (US$1,036) psf compared to that of Hong Kong where average property costs a whopping $2,833 (US$2,091) psf, according to an earlier report from CBRE.

Also read: Singapore still the second priciest housing market in the world

Meanwhile, Hong Kong is unfazed at the top spot as the most expensive city for expatriates both in Asia and globally as a result of its red-hothousing market and USD-pegged currency, which has driven up the cost of living locally.

According to the study, a liter of gasoline in Singapore would cost around $2.17 (US$1.60), lower compared to Hong Kong’s rate of about $2.71 per liter (US$2 per liter). Meanwhile, a pair of men’s jeans in the Lion City will cost about $135.49 (US$100), also lower compared to the rate in Hong Kong ($216/US$160) and Shanghai ($190/US$140).

For a Big Mac meal, Singapore beat Hong Kong by a marginal difference as rates in both countries go by around $6.77 (US$5), with Singapore having a slightly more expensive rate. But the citystate is again defeated by SAR when it comes to an expensive coffee, as a cup of coffee in Hong Kong could go by around $9.48 (US$7) compared to a $6.77 (US$5) for a cup in Singapore.

Also read: Singapore expats burdened with lower packages and higher cost of living

“Singapore remains an important regional and global hub for many multinational businesses, attracting top-level talent and sustained demand for high quality accommodation and quality goods and services. The demand for highly-skilled talent continues to increase within the region, driven by both foreign direct investment and rapid economic growth,” said Mario Ferraro, Mercer’s global mobility practice leader for Asia, Middle East and Africa.

Rounding up the top five most expensive cities in Asia after Singapore are Seoul (4th), and Shanghai (6th).

An earlier study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) hailed Singapore as the world’s most expensive city alongside Hong Kong and Paris.

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