Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Singapore is the world’s most expensive city for goods and services for wealthy people, followed by Shanghai and Hong Kong, says a report by Julius Baer. The Swiss private banking group also estimated that Singapore had 1,500 family offices in the territory, twice the number of the previous year.

As one of the first places in Asia to reopen its borders during the pandemic, the city-state has been vying to become the leading global centre for the wealthy while Hong Kong, its long-standing rival, was still subjected to Covid restrictions over the past year. But the limited space to accommodate the inflow of wealthy residents may make it difficult for Singapore to retain the top spot, said the report. Demand for accommodation is high, school places are at a premium and the cost of living in Singapore is significant, it added.

Singapore is the most expensive city for car prices. Cars and essential health insurance are 133 per cent and 109 per cent costlier than the global average, among 12 consumer goods and eight services that reflect consumption patterns of the rich in the 25 major cities covered in the Global Wealth and Lifestyle report this year.

Hong Kong could well return to first place in the following years, said Julius Baer. The report pointed out that the city still holds greater total assets under management than Singapore, while it may benefit from the proximity to fully reopened China as the IMF predicts its economy will grow by 3.5 per cent this year, faster than the estimated 1.5 per cent of Singapore.

Housing in Hong Kong remains the priciest in Asia and the second most expensive globally despite the cost of residential property falling by 2 per cent. Prices for hotel suites and fine dining rose significantly by 102 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively, as tourist demand rebounded, and the hospitality industry grappled with higher running, food and staffing costs. Car prices increased 30 per cent year on year.

The city is also the most expensive in the world for legal services. Asia continued to be the costliest region in which to live well for the fourth year in a row, with Taipei in eighth place.

“Price rises in premium goods and services underpin the case that wealthy consumers need to achieve a high single-digit investment return in US dollar terms to preserve their wealth,” said Christian Gattiker, head of research at Julius Baer.

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