Paris joins Hong Kong and Singapore as world's most expensive city

The French capital shares the title of the world's most expensive place to live with Hong Kong and Singapore. Economic woes have made Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Istanbul much cheaper.

Singapore is one of the world's three most expensive cities for the sixth year running, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit's 2019 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, released on Tuesday.

The southeast Asian city-state shares the tag of the most costly place to live with Hong Kong and Paris.

When the prices of more than 150 items were compared in 133 cities around the world, the French capital moved up one place in the rankings compared to last year.

Read more: Life in megacities: Michael Wolf's photography

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Euromaxx | 18.01.2019

Hidden gems of Paris

Paris' advance perhaps bolsters the central case of France's yellow vest protesters, who have blockaded major roads and cities during the past four months over the rising cost of living.

The Swiss cities of Zurich and Geneva were ranked fourth and joint fifth respectively, followed by Japan's Osaka and Seoul in South Korea.

Israel's second-most populous city, Tel Aviv, entered the Top 10 for the first time — the only Middle Eastern high-ranked representative in the survey.

Read more: In a crowded Eurovision field, standouts emerge

The US cities of New York and Los Angeles ranked eighth and tenth.

Global property markets on the turn

Australia braces for hard landing

Australia's housing market is witnessing its steepest annual fall in 15 years. In Sydney, prices are down 10 percent in a year. House prices in Sydney doubled in a decade on the back of Australia's booming economy, with the median price still being an eyewatering 1,062,619 Australian dollars (€668,391, $762,391). But tighter lending criteria for mortgages have helped fuel the drop.

Global property markets on the turn

Bangkok's condo market cools

Bangkok condominiums have been popular with Chinese investors over the past five years, with prices rising at 5-10 percent per annum. A building boom has, however, left 40,000 units unsold, with another 53,000 new apartments to be launched this year. While properties in other Asian cities have doubled in value as a result of limited land space, the Thai capital has plenty of room to grow — and is.

Global property markets on the turn

London offers Brexit bargains

Once a safe haven for wealthy Chinese, Russian and Middle Eastern property investors, interest in the British capital continues to wane due to the uncertainty over Brexit. London prices fell for the second year in a row in 2018 (Nationwide). Many newer apartment blocks are lying empty, and more than 500 new developments currently being built across the city, so further falls are expected.

Global property markets on the turn

Investors decry China price falls

A property price slowdown is underway in several Chinese cities, which last year led to some speculators protesting outside real estate developers' offices. With property price-to-income ratios in Beijing and Shanghai hitting 23, analysts have long questioned how long the boom can continue. Several provinces have shelved plans to build more affordable housing amid a severe glut.

Global property markets on the turn

Vancouver in 'full blown correction'

A 15-year Canadian real estate bubble, which saw prices increase by 337 percent, has come to an end. Vancouver is hit hardest; the Royal Bank of Canada describes the west coast city as in "full blown correction mode." Sales plunged by a third in 2018 and prices have already fallen close to 10 percent. Prices in Toronto are so far holding up better due to domestic and global demand.

Global property markets on the turn

Bargain hunting in Istanbul

Turkey's currency and interest rate crisis last year brought the property market to a standstill. The lira fell 40 percent against the US dollar and the interest rate rose to 24 percent. As a result, there was an 80 percent drop in mortgage approvals. Istanbul, meanwhile, has suffered from a property oversupply for years. Some investors have been tempted by low prices in foreign currencies.

Global property markets on the turn

Red dot no longer red hot

Property experts in Singapore expect prices to fall up to 5 percent in 2019 after cooling measures were introduced by the government following four years of strong growth. The city-state is increasingly experimenting with some unusual designs for residential properties, including Keppel Bay which has six glass towers of 1,129 units, overlooking the resort island of Sentosa.

Global property markets on the turn

Hong Kong slightly more 'affordable'

A correction in Hong Kong's property market is gathering speed, and not too soon for many residents. The Chinese territory has been named as the world's least affordable real estate market for a ninth consecutive year. Prices have dropped more than 7 percent since the summer and some analysts expect a further fall of up to 15 percent in 2019.

"We note converging costs in traditionally more expensive cities like Paris, Singapore, Zurich, Geneva, Copenhagen, and Hong Kong," said Roxana Slavcheva, the editor of the survey, in a media release.

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"It is a testament to globalization and the similarity of tastes and shopping patterns. Even in locations where shopping for groceries may be relatively cheaper, utilities or transportation prices drive up overall cost of living," she noted.

No German city made it into the Top 10, however, Frankfurt moved up three places in the rankings, while Munich overtook Hamburg.

Read more: Real estate investors flee 'overpriced' Germany

Currency depreciation and high inflation saw several cities in emerging market economies fall sharply in the rankings, namely Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, and Istanbul. The Turkish city fell 48 places in the rankings as a result of soaring inflation exacerbated by the lira currency crisis.

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Business | 01.03.2019

Luxury villas on the Bosphorus going 'cheap'

Economic contraction also saw Stockholm, the Australian cities of Adelaide and Perth, and New Zealand's capital, Wellington, fall down the chart.

At the other end of the rankings, Caracas in Venezuela has overtaken the Syrian capital, Damascus, as the world's cheapest city, out of all those surveyed.

Three Indian cities, Bangalore, New Delhi and Chennai were also among the Top 10 lowest cost cities.