Hong Kong ranks 14th in world for cost of living

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 February, 2013, 4:38pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 February, 2013, 12:22pm

Hong Kong moved up eight places from last year to become one of the top 20 most expensive cities in the world to live in, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest report.

The EIU’s Worldwide Cost of Living 2013 survey ranked Hong Kong 14th on a global scale and 4th in Asia, behind Singapore and Japan’s Osaka and Tokyo – the latter having edged Zurich off the top spot despite sliding 14 percentage points on the index.

“Rising living costs in Hong Kong are driven on a macro scale…although property prices are not taken into account in the study, the unrelenting growth in real estate costs also feed into higher prices for everything else,” said Susan Evans, an analyst at the EIU in Hong Kong.

"No doubt, the lack of extensive free market competition in Hong Kong's supermarket sector also has an impact on maintaining high prices."

The bi-annual study analyses 400 individual price points for 160 different products and services in 140 cities across the world. These included prices of bread, table wine, branded cigarettes and unleaded petrol.

The unrelenting growth in real estate costs also feed into higher prices for everything else
Susan Evans, EIU analyst

Jon Copestake, editor of the report, said Asian cities have been “rising on the back of wage growth and economic optimism” while most of Europe has seen relative declines due to economic austerity measures and currency fears.

Mainland cities, which were listed separately from Hong Kong in terms of country, saw living costs climb significantly in the past year, fuelled by rising wages, increased consumer demand and tighter currency controls.

Shanghai, up 11 spots from last year, was the most expensive mainland city followed by Guangzhou and Suzhou. Tianjin also jumped seven places to make the list as fourth priciest city in the country.

“Gradual appreciation of the yuan over the past few years and rising GDP per capita has contributed to rising costs of living in these cities,” said Evans.

The ten most expensive cities in Asia

Country City World Ranking Rank movement 
Japan Tokyo 1 1
Japan Osaka 2 1
Australia Sydney 3 4
Australia Melbourne 4 4
Singapore Singapore 6 3
Australia Perth 11 1
Australia  Brisbane 13 0
Hong Kong  Hong Kong 14 8
Australia Adelaide 16 1
New Zealand Auckland 19 -4

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit