6. Singapore (Tied)
Singapore, like other Asian financial centers, has seen a big inflow of expatriates, which has pushed up the cost of housing and other living costs.
The city has been moving up Mercer's most expensive cities list, rising two spots this year from eighth in 2011 and 11 th in 2010. Known for its high property prices and rents compared to the rest of Southeast Asia, Singapore is also an extremely expensive place to own a car. The permit to buy a new car can cost anywhere between $46,000 to over $67,000. Prices of these 10-year permits, known as Certificate of Entitlement (COE), have jumped 40 percent since the beginning of this year.
An average Toyota Vios subcompact costs $85,700 including the permit, up from about $60,000 at the beginning of the year, according to motoring website SGcarmart.com.
Given the steep cost of living in Singapore, expat salaries are also correspondingly high. According to a survey by HSBC more than half of expats in Singapore earned more than $200,000 in 2011, making it the country with the highest expat salaries in Asia. Expats in Singapore need to have larger incomes than their home countries to maintain their standard of living. About 82 percent of expats surveyed said they were more likely to spend more money on accommodation, while 65 percent said they would spend more on food in 2011 compared to the global average of around 50 percent.
Monthly Rent, Luxury 2 Bedroom: $3,588
Cup of Coffee: $5.18
One Gallon of Gasoline: $6.55
Daily International Newspaper: $3.59
Fast-Food Meal: $5.66