Shanghai is the costliest city to lead a luxury life while US remains cheapest

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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A recent report on luxury lifestyles reveals that the Asia Pacific region is the most expensive place to live, with the biggest city of China, Shanghai overtaking Hong Kong as the priciest city in the world.

One of the oldest Swiss banking institutions, Julius Baer Group’s report on global wealth and lifestyle has found that a part of the reason for the Asia Pacific region’s success was its swift recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Americas has turned to be the most affordable region for living a luxury lifestyle in 2021 and this is mainly due to the fall in the US and Canadian dollars against other major global currencies and sharp devaluations of Latin American currencies.

“Asian cities are more expensive partly because COVID-19 didn’t become an epidemic quite the same way it, unfortunately, became in the other cities in the index. So they were able to function more normally than the others,” said Rajesh Manwani, Julius Baer’s Head of Markets & Wealth Management Solutions in the Asia Pacific.

The cities in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa have climbed up in the rankings, supported by the strength of the euro and the Swiss franc, except for London, due to Brexit uncertainty.

The pandemic has swept through the world and pushed economies to huge crises. While the collapse in the tourism sector led to a 9.3 percent fall in the price of hotel suites last year, business-class plane tickets became 11 percent more expensive which is the biggest surge among luxury categories as airlines had to make up for a scarcity of sales, Julius Baer report said.

Shanghai overtook Hong Kong as the most expensive city as prices rose 6 percent last year, while those in Hong Kong were flat, according to Mark Matthews, head of research the Asia Pacific at Julius Baer. There was quite an exception for the Chinese city where business class flights went up 82 percent and hotel suite prices went up 15 percent.

However, living a luxury lifestyle around the world has only become about 1 percent more expensive than in 2020, with the rich increasingly turning to conscious choices that may result in fairer prices for producers, the report added.

Julius Baer’s Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report analyzed the price inflation of 20 luxury items indicative of the lifestyle of high-net-worth individuals in 25 cities across regions. To adapt to the new world, the 2021 edition replaced categories including personal trainers, wedding banquets, botox and pianos with bikes, treadmills, health insurance and a technology package.

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