The COVID-19 pandemic has reordered the world’s most expensive cities list, putting Zurich, Paris and Hong Kong in the top three spots.
Osaka (Japan) and Singapore, which were joint first in 2019, have slid down the rankings to fourth and fifth place respectively, according to the Worldwide Cost of Living (WCOL).
Upasana Dutt, the head of the WCOL report, said that this year has been “unusual” as COVID-19 has “impacted spending habits all over the world.”
Cities in the Americas, Africa and eastern Europe have become less expensive since 2019, whilst western European cities have become pricier, the report said.
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The Covid-19 pandemic has revamped the list of world’s most expensive cities, putting Hong Kong, Zurich, and Paris in the top three spots.
The Worldwide Cost of Living (WCOL) annual report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) revealed Wednesday that Singapore and Osaka, that were both joint-first in 2019, have tumbled down the rankings to fourth and fifth place respectively.
Related: Cost of living for expatriates in 2020: Saigon moves up, Hanoi down
The WCOL index examined the cost of living in 133 cities worldwide since the start of the year, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Zurich and Paris jumped up four places, overtaking Singapore and Osaka, to join Hong Kong at number one.
Here’s the full ranking:
The reasons behind the shifts in prices
Upasana Dutt, the head of Worldwide Cost of Living, told Business Insider that 2020 has clearly been “more unusual” than previous years.
“The coronavirus pandemic has impacted spending habits all over the world, with the prices of essential goods proving more resilient than those deemed non-essential,” Dutt said.
The WCOL report said prices in Singapore dropped because of so many foreign workers leaving the city amid the coronavirus pandemic, triggering low demand and deflation.
“In the past few years Singapore had maintained its position at the top of the table. That has, of course, changed this year,” Dutt said. Kate Duffy reported on Business Insider.
Cost of Living in Vietnam
Vietnam is an inexpensive country to live in. Most items cost less than half of what you would pay in the West, and anywhere from 5% to 25% less than what they would cost in many other Southeast Asian countries.
Vietnam’s most expensive city is Ho Chi Minh City, followed by Hanoi. Even in these two places, a couple can enjoy a comfortable, middle-class lifestyle for less than $1,300 per month. Many Westerners who live in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City get by spending around $500 per month, but it’s a no-frills lifestyle. A monthly budget of around $4,000 provides for top-end luxury, including a large, furnished home with a view of a lake or park, eating at 5-star restaurants, and taking frequent cruises and sightseeing trips throughout Vietnam, according to the International Living.
If you live outside of Vietnam’s two largest cities, in places like Da Nang, Hoi An, Nha Trang, and Vung Tau, prices will be much less. In any of these destinations, a budget of around $800 to $1,100 per month will provide a lovely house or apartment, all utilities, housekeeping, groceries, dining out every day if you choose, and even the occasional massage. In all of these towns, you can find a place to live just a short walk from the beach, or even a home with an ocean view. If you can manage a budget of $3,500 to $4,500 per month, you can rent a modern villa with a private pool and live like royalty while eating and drinking at the best restaurants in town.