The 15 cities where it's most expensive to live a high-end lifestyle, from buying prime real estate to hiring a personal trainer

PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty ImagesHong Kong is the world’s most expensive city to live a high-end lifestyle.

If you’re looking to live a high-end lifestyle for as cheaply as possible, you probably want to avoid cities like Hong Kong, Singapore, and New York.

In its Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report 2020, Julius Baer ranked the world’s most expensive cities for living a high-end lifestyle.

The bank surveyed 28 cities around the world: 10 in Asia, 12 in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and six in the Americas, looking at the cost of things like residential real estate, cars, pianos, designer clothing and handbags, as well as experiences like fine dining, hotel suites, business class flights, personal trainers, and boarding school.

“‘Luxury’ once stood for fancy goods, such as handbags or sports cars,” Nicolas de Skowronski, Julius Baer’s head of wealth management solutions, wrote in the report. “Now it has morphed into a broad category that includes services and experiences, from fine dining to new lifestyle trends such as wellness.”

Four of the most expensive cities to live a luxury lifestyle are in Asia: Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Singapore. New York, Los Angeles, and London also made the list.

Of course, these cities aren’t just expensive for the millionaires and billionaires among us. Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris, and New York consistently rank among the world’s overall most expensive cities to live.

Here are the world’s most expensive cities for high-class living.


15. Sydney

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The Australian capital is the 15th-most expensive city for living the high life, according to the report.

But it’s the number one most expensive city to buy business class flights, and it’s also the third-most expensive city to get Lasik eye surgery.


14. Vienna

Austria’s capital is the fifth-priciest city to buy fine wine.


13. Miami

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The South Florida city is the second-priciest city to hire a personal trainer, and also the second-most expensive place to buy a piano.


12. Paris

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Although certain things like designer clothing and handbags are more affordable in the French capital than the other 14 cities, Paris is the most expensive city for fine dining.


11. Bangkok

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High-end clothing doesn’t come cheap in Thailand’s capital. It’s the most expensive of all 28 cities to buy both ladies’ shoes and mens’ suits.


10. Monaco

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Monaco, the tiny sovereign city-state on the French Riviera, is the most expensive of all 28 cities to buy residential real estate, but it’s a relatively affordable place to buy whiskey and ladies’ handbags.


9. Zurich

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The Swiss city comes in fourth for priciest beauty services and personal trainers, but it’s relatively affordable when it comes to fine wine and jewellery.


8. Taipei

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Out of the 28 cities surveyed, Taipei is the most expensive place to buy a piano, and the fifth-most expensive to buy a car.


7. London

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The English capital is the most expensive city to get Lasik eye surgery, and it’s the third-priciest city to buy residential real estate.


6. Los Angeles

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In Los Angeles, it’s particularly expensive to buy business class flights and hire a personal trainer, areas in which it comes in third place out of the top cities.

It’s also the fourth-most expensive city to have a wedding banquet.


5. Singapore

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Singapore is the most expensive city to buy a car and the third-most expensive for fine dining.


4. New York

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New York City may be a relatively affordable city to buy a car or some fine whiskey, but it’s the priciest city for hiring a personal trainer and hosting a wedding banquet.


3. Tokyo

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The Japanese capital is the most expensive city to book a hotel suite, and it comes in second for the cost women’s shoes.


2. Shanghai

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While Shanghai is one of the relatively affordable top cities to buy fine wines and book hotel suites, it’s the second-most expensive for buying a car and hiring a lawyer.

And it’s the third-priciest city to buy a luxury watch.


1. Hong Kong

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Hong Kong ranks high in many categories of high-end living costs.

The Chinese city is the most expensive city to hire a lawyer, the second-most expensive city for fine dining and buying residential property. It’s the third-most expensive place to buy a car, buy business class flights, and pay for a wedding banquet and beauty services.

It’s also the fourth-most expensive city to book a hotel suite.

One possible silver lining is that out of the 28 cities surveyed, Hong Kong is the cheapest place to buy jewellery.

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