No 1: Zurich
For the first time in at least two decades of reporting the worldwide cost of living survey Zurich sits atop the ranking as the world’s most expensive city. An index swing of 34 percentage points pushed the Swiss city up 4 places compared to last year.
No 2: Tokyo
Zurich overtook Tokyo (pictured) which remained in second place in the WCOL survey.
The survey allows for city to city comparisons, but for the purpose of this report all cities are compared to a base city of New York, which has an index set at 100.
No 3: Geneva
Geneva (pictured), the other Swiss city surveyed saw a 30 percentage point rise in the cost of living to move up six places into joint third alongside Osaka Kobe. Both have scored 157 on the Index.
No 4: Kobe
Both Japan (Osaka Kobe – pictured left) and Switzerland have seen strong currency movements over the last few years which year, where investors looking for a haven currency outside the beleaguered Eurozone have invested heavily in the Swiss Franc, prompting an unprecedented move by the Swiss government to peg the Swiss Franc to the Euro to keep the currency competitive.
No 5: Oslo
As well as currency movement, structural factors maintain the high cost of living in many of the top cities. Despite Eurozone weaknesses affecting markets like Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy, evidence is that German and French cities are still relatively expensive with Paris and Frankfurt holding firm in the ten most expensive. Oslo (Index score 156), which was considered the world’s most expensive city only a few years ago.
No 6: Paris
Paris (Index score 150) is the world’s sixth most expensive city to live in, according to the EIU survey. The Worldwide Cost of Living is a bi-annual (twice yearly) Economist Intelligence Unit survey that compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services.
No 7: Sydney
Local inflation in mature markets always has far less influence on the relative cost of living than the currency movements of the countries in question. This also explains the recent presence of Australian cities like Sydney (Score: 147/ Rank: 7) and Melbourne (Score: 145/ Rank: 8) in the ten most expensive locations as last year saw the Australian dollar pass parity with the US dollar from holding half that value a decade ago.
No 8: Melbourne
With a score of 145, Melbourne is ranked at No.8.
No 9: Singapore
Singapore’s presence in the top ten highlights a shift away from Western Europe towards Asian hubs. Cities from the Asia Pacific region (including Australasia) now make up half the ten most expensive.
No 10: Frankfurt, German
The German city of Frankfurt is the world's tenth most expensive city to live in, according to the latest Worldwide Cost of Living Survey (WCOL) conducted by the prestigious Economic Intelligence Unit.