The 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live in Asia

Life is expensive everywhere, but some places are more costly than others. Although locations like London and New York have a reputation for their high cost of living, the most expensive city in the world is in Asia. The continent has some cities that are known for being pricy, especially for housing, food, transportation, and taxes. It also makes it more expensive for tourists and for companies that want to invest in those cities.

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China appears multiple times on this list, which makes sense if we consider the cost of houses in the country. According to Mercer’s 2019 Cost of Living Survey, those are the ten most expensive cities in Asia today.

10 Nanjing

Nanjing, in China, ranked 10th as the most expensive city to live in Asia and the 25th most expensive in the world. According to the survey, the city is more costly than Dublin and Abu Dhabi. China appears on this list multiple times, which drags the attention to the cost of living in the country in general.

The capital of the Jiangsu Province has over 10 million inhabitants and also has some of the most expensive houses prices in the country. According to China Whisper. Costs of transportation and food are also high.

9 Guangzhou

Guangzhou is the thirstiest biggest city in China, and it is not that far from Hong Kong, which also appears on this list. This proximity probably affects the prices in Guangzhou, but it also attracts people who want to escape the even higher cost of living in Hong Kong. It also receives lots of tourists who want to see places like the Guangzhou opera.

According to Expatisian, the cost of a rental is approximately $1.500 per month. The amount may not look insane, but it is important to consider that the average income is also not high in the country.

8 Osaka

Japan is one of the most expensive places to visit in Asia.  If you decide to live there, the prices are even higher. The cost of living makes sense if you think that the country is an island, which makes commercial relations with other countries more expensive. Japan and China are the only countries that appear on this list more than once.

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Osaka is one of the most expensive cities in the country. Housing, transportation, entertainment, and food have higher prices in Osaka than in other cities in Japan.

7 Shenzhen

Shenzhen is another city in Asia that often ranks among the most expensive places in the world to live. Forty years ago, this city was just a small village, but it changes thanks to tech companies. Shenzhen is a base for giant companies like Huawei and Tencent, which brings enormous investments but also increases the prices of houses and services in general. The average cost for a property in the city was $680,283 in 2018.

According to the Financial Times, the economy in the city is even stronger than in Hong Kong.

6 Beijing

Beijing is one of the most important cities in China. It is considered the cultural and political heart of China, and it is not far from Shanghai, which also appears on this list. Unsurprisingly, it is also one of the most expensive cities in Asia, especially when it comes to housing. According to Forbes, the average price for square-meter is $5.820, one of the highest on this list.

According to the ranking, the cost of living in Beijing is higher than in New York, Los Angeles, and Tel Aviv.

5 Shanghai

Shanghai is the second most expensive city in China, according to the ranking. Transportation, food, and especially housing are more expensive there if compared to most places in Asia.

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According to Forbes, the housing prices in the Chinese city are unsustainable. The publication revealed that an apartment with one thousand square-meters costs approximately $725.000 in the town. The price is astronomical, considering the average income in Shangai is $1.135 per month. The publication also said that the cost of houses in Shanghai had a 40 percent increase between 2012 and 2017.

4 Seoul

The cost of living in Seoul is increasing fast. In 2014, South Korea's capital ranked 50th on the list of most expensive cities in the world and jumped to the 7th position in 2019. That makes the place the 4th most expensive city to live in Asia, and it might get even more costly in the coming years.

Living in South Korea costs six percent more than living in most cities of the United States, according to Numbeo. Many items like gas, public transportation, clothing, and groceries are overpriced if compared to other cities.

3 Tokyo

Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities to live in Japan and it is also costly for tourists. The town was on the top of the list from 1992 until 2013. In 2014, Tokyo lost the title for the next city on this list. According to the government, the cost of living in Tokyo is 10 percent higher if compared to other cities in Japan.

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According to the Real State website, a single person in Tokyo needs between $1.268 and $1.758 per month to make a decent living. The amount is just enough for basic needs like housing, food, transportation, taxes, etc.

2 Singapore

Singapore is considered the most expensive city in Asia to live for five years in a row. The capital of the Republic of Singapore is on a tide with the next city on this list. In 2014, the city surpassed Tokyo, that held the title for over two decades.

According to Forbes, one-third of the workforce of the country comes from other countries and it might have increased the cost of living in the capital. The publication affirms that "Its strong government has directed the economy with a combination of light-touch regulation and strong enforcement of contracts. As a consequence, the city has acted as a magnet to international investment and all the talent that follows."

1 Hong Kong

Hong Kong is not the most expensive city in Asia, but the most expensive city in the world to live for the second year in a row. According to the survey, the city is just as costly as Paris and Singapore.

Hong Kong is known for the astronomical prices of houses. According to HuffPost, the square-foot in the city costs $3.200 and since 2003 the prices of the homes have increased 430 percent. An average rental costs over $2.500, 122 percent more than people use to make per month.

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