Zurich named world’s most expensive city

Zurich is the world’s most expensive city to live in closely followed by Geneva, a new survey reveals.

The 2018 Prices & Earnings report, carried out by UBS, shows that the two Swiss cities are found to be the most expensive both when housing costs are factored in and when they are excluded from calculations.

Using New York as a baseline for the study, with a score of 100, 77 cities around the world were then measured against that baseline. Zurich scored 116.8 before rental costs were factored in, meaning it was 16.8 per cent more expensive than New York overall. After rent was factored in, Zurich’s score was 104.3. For Geneva, the score was 113.4 before rent and 102.9 including rent.

Oslo, Copenhagen, New York, Tokyo, Milan, London, Chicago and Helsinki rounded out the list of top ten most expensive cities in the world.

Egypt’s capital Cairo is the cheapest, the survey found.

Perhaps surprisingly, Los Angeles was found to be the city in which salaries go furthest. Los Angeles boasts the world’s best buying power for the average worker’s salary, with LA residents now able to afford almost a quarter more (23.9 per cent) than New Yorkers.

According to the study’s Purchasing Power Index, residents of European and North American cities typically enjoy the best buying power overall, with Bahrain’s capital Manama and Hong Kong the only non-transatlantic contenders in the Top Ten. Global financial capitals New York and London rank 10th and 23rd respectively.

“Purchasing power matters to all of us as individuals and as investors,” said Mark Haefele, Chief Investment Officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. “Whether you are planning your next vacation or trying to understand long term shifts in economic power, our study provides a detailed analysis of prices around the world.”

Daniel Kalt, Chief Economist and Chief Investment Officer for Switzerland, UBS Global Wealth Management, and lead editor of the study, adds: “As in our previous edition, Zurich tops the list as the world’s most expensive city, closely followed by Swiss rival Geneva. However, our Purchasing Power Index clearly indicates that we are beginning to see stronger competition from overseas with only three European cities left in our Top Ten, all of which lost ground compared to the report’s 2015 edition.”

Article published 31st May 2018