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UBS survey Swiss cities remain the dearest in the world

Two people in a nightclub

Zurich is the most expensive place in the world to party on Saturday night 


Zurich and Geneva are still the world’s two most expensive major cities, according to the annual rankings of 77 metropolitan areas by Swiss bank UBS. Egypt’s capital Cairo is the cheapest. 

The two Swiss cities beat New York, Oslo and Copenhagen, revealed UBS’s 2018 “Cost of living in cities around the worldexternal link” survey on Tuesday. 

What’s more expensive in Zurichexternal link than in Genevaexternal link? “The biggest difference can be found in services, such as haircuts, an hour of household help, dry cleaning, language classes etc., where Zurich is 20% pricier on average than Geneva. The second-largest difference is in electronic devices (+16%) like smartphones, televisions and notebooks,” the survey found. 

UBS based its calculations on a basket of 128 goods and services representing the spending habits of a three-person European family – with separate data sets including and excluding rent, the single largest cost for most people. 

Zurich and Geneva topped both dataexternal link sets, although the difference with basis city New York was greater when rent was excluded. 


Swiss price levels compared with New York

 However, when it comes to buying power – earnings versus prices, or what people can afford – Los Angeles did best, pipping Zurich, Miami and Geneva. New York came tenth and London 23rd

In a subset of data for 11 big citiesexternal link (including Zurich but not Geneva), UBS looked at where millennials would be best off to buy a package of typical must-have goods including an Apple iPhone, a laptop and a Netflix subscription. 

Expensive Hong Kong was the surprise winner for the study authors, but they said Zurich was another surprise. “The iPhone here has the third-cheapest price tag on our list, dropping the expensive Swiss city to fifth place overall. But millennials here will have pretty empty pockets after paying the highest prices for their jeans, Netflix and coffee. And at $6.33 (CHF6.29) a pop, a Big Mac in Zurich approaches the cost of a whole meal in other cities.” 

However, Zurich nabbed top spot for the “Most expensive Saturday nightexternal link”, ahead of Stockholm and Miami. “Partying doesn’t come cheap in the Swiss and Swedish cities,” the authors noted. “At around $27 for a club entry, $35 for a couple of drinks and the most expensive cab rides around, your night will lighten your wallet by nearly $100 for you alone.”


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