(CNN) – For many, it is the ultimate dream – to move to a big city and live a glamorous new life.
But as we all know, living in big cities comes at a cost – especially if you choose Hong Kong, Paris or Zurich, which new research suggests are the most expensive cities in the world.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which rates 133 world cities and compares the price of a basket with 138 everyday objects each, has classified them as joint leaders.European cities skipped Singapore and Osaka, which were linked to Hong Kong in the previous global cost of living survey conducted in March.
This time the changes are particularly pronounced. The report also serves as an assessment of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on global prices.
Currency fluctuations due to the pandemic – which included a decline in the US dollar – mean that travel destinations in Africa, America and Eastern Europe have become cheaper since March, while Western Europe, where the euro has appreciated against the US dollar, has seen prices rise. The Swiss franc has also gained in value.
The most expensive cities in the world
Singapore has fallen from first to fourth place
Courtesy of the Singapore Tourism Board
Singapore and Osaka are now in fourth and fifth place, with Tel Aviv and Osaka in fifth place. An exodus of foreign workers during the pandemic is what caused Singapore’s decline, which saw the population decline for the first time in 17 years, according to the EIU.
The top 10 are completed by Geneva, New York City, Copenhagen and Los Angeles.
Sydney is number 15, London 20 and Nairobi 77.
Moscow is number 106 and Delhi is number 121.
The biggest jump is Tehran, which has climbed from 106th to 79th place due to U.S. sanctions affecting supplies. Reykjavik, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo show the largest price drops. The EIU attributes the ranking of Brazilian cities to “weak currencies and rising poverty”. Brazil, of course, suffered tremendously during the pandemic.
Damascus in Syria is the city with the lowest cost of living, followed by Uzbekistan’s Tashkent, Lusaka in Zambia, Caracas (Venezuela) and Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The bottom 10 are rounded off by Karachi (Pakistan), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Algiers (Algeria) and Bangalore and Chennai in India. The Argentine government put price controls in place during the pandemic that could explain Buenos Aires’ position.
Expensive electronics and cheaper clothing
Buenos Aires is at the bottom of the list
JUAN MABROMATA / AFP / AFP / Getty Images
It’s not just the cities that have swapped. The survey found that electronics prices – have increased worldwide. Clothing has now fallen – presumably due to the increase in people working from home. Basic foods remained largely the same, while personal care products, tobacco, and alcohol rose.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the US dollar to weaken while Western European and North Asian currencies have risen against the US dollar, which in turn has shifted the prices of goods and services,” said Upasana Dutt, head of global Cost of living at the EIU.
“The pandemic has changed consumer behavior as lockdowns and trends such as work from home have increased the prices of consumer electronics and home meal kits have taken the place of middle class restaurants.”
Things are not looking bright for the future. The EIU predicts that the trends will continue, with people prioritizing staple groceries and home entertainment over clothing in 2021.
Most expensive cities in the world to live in 2020
1. (Tie) Paris, France
1. (Tie) Hong Kong
1 (tie) Zurich, Switzerland
5. (Tie) Osaka, Japan
5. (Tie) Tel Aviv, Israel
7. Geneva, Switzerland
8. New York City
9. Copenhagen, Denmark
10. Los Angeles