Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The 14th most expensive city in the world

According to a Cost of Living Survey conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Singapore has become the 14th most expensive city in the world for expatriates.

I'm not sure how they did it, but the survey covered 143 cities across six continents and measures the comparative costs of over 200 items like housing, transport, food, household goods and entertainment. Sky rocketing housing prices and climbing transportation prices are the main causes for the high ranking. Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Osaka are the only cities in the Asia-Pacific that is above Singapore in the ranking.

So much for keeping costs down to make Singapore more competitive. No wait, that was to keep BUSINESS cost down! Living cost has always been a secondary concern to the Singapore government, but higher living prices is going to affect Singapore sooner or later. In fact, you can say that it already has. The Singapore housing market has went crazy in the past year, and has shown no sign of slowing. There hasn't been too many protests at the prices because only the top 20% of the market are affected. Mainly expatriates are buying the condos in Singapore, and this has pushed the prices into outer space. But as the prices keep heading north, less and less people can afford it and there goes the idea of keeping business cost down.

The government may say their hands are tied in the housing market, but surely they can do something about transportation costs. Government-linked companies has a virtual monopoly in the tranport companies in Singapore, so there is no reason why the prices has kept on increasing. Hell, they are even posting good profits yearly. In this case, they can keep the living and business costs down at the same time with a lowering of the tranport costs. Two birds with one stone.

Singapore is now the 14th most expensive city in the world. Let's make sure we are not in the top 10 next year.

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