In the latest cost of living global survey released yesterday (June 22), Singapore is again ranked 4th as the most expensive city to live in the world. However in another survey by Mercer too, Singapore ranks only 26th in Quality of Living. Despite being currently in a recession, prices in Singapore have not fallen. While other countries are seeing sharper deflation and weakening currency, Singapore’s deflation barely inched 1% and the currency remained uncompetitive compared to Australian and US dollars.
Leading the unaffordable indicator is property, with most first-time homeowners borrowing up to 25 years of mortgage. Commercial property rental prices remained high as key government-linked property developers refuse to budge. Unlike other countries, Singapore’s public transport costs did not fall despite the crash in oil prices, with SMRT and SBS Transit reaping in profits by not reflecting oil prices in transport fares. Similarly for utilities, the PUB did not lower electricity prices proportionately to market prices.
Education fees in Singapore was not lowered for Singapore citizens, and has instead risen for foreigners and permanent residents in a bid to “differentiate the benefits of Singapore citizenship”. Private transport costs remains the most expensive in the world, with the COE tax cost exorbitant to the range of S$40,000. COE and ERP taxes is a common indirect tax on top of GST as all commercial vehicles are affected.
According to government figures last week, the number of Singaporean Chinese households seeking welfare assistance increased by 13.5% in 2015. Malay households seeking rental housing doubled to 10.9% in 2016 compared to 10 years ago. Although the Singapore government refuse to set a poverty line out of embarrassment, poverty in Singapore have worsened.
Mercer: Singapore ranked 26th in quality of living in 2016