High costs continue to hit Zurich and Geneva

Zurich and Geneva are among the ten most expensive cities in the world, according to the results of a comprehensive study released on Tuesday.

High costs continue to hit Zurich and Geneva
Zurich: still costs a bob or two. Photo: Switzerland Tourism

The two Swiss cities often rank among the most costly places to live on the planet and this was confirmed by the results from the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2014 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey.

Zurich ranked fourth on the list, up from seventh the previous year, behind top-ranked Singapore, Paris and Oslo, while Geneva was tied for sixth (up from tenth in 2013) behind Sydney, Australia.

The biannual study found the cities of Tokyo, Melbourne and Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, to be on par with Geneva for expensive living.

The results are based on a comparison of more than 400 different price indicators, from grocery staples to the cost of utilities, in 131 cities.

The high cost of accommodation in Switzerland’s largest cities accounts in large part for their continued high ranking in the list as well as the strong Swiss franc.

Renting a three-bedroom apartment in the centre of Zurich averages £2,200 a month, according to the report.

Buying an apartment in downtown Geneva meanwhile will set you back around $9,400 per square metre, the Economist Intelligence Unit says.

That rivals prices in Singapore where the rise in value of the small republic’s dollar over the past several years is blamed in part for the elevated costs.

"Improving sentiment in structurally expensive European cities combined with the continued rise of Asian hubs means that these two regions continue to supply most of the world's most expensive cities," Jon Copestake, editor of the report, said in a news release.

"But Asian cities also continue to make up many of the world's cheapest, especially in the Indian subcontinent."

Mumbai, Karachi and New Delhi, meanwhile, rate as the least expensive places to live among those surveyed.

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