The 10 Most Expensive Cities in Asia

Asia is one of the most attractive locations considered by expats to relocate to because of the scenery, culture, and lower cost of living. However, some cities in Asia are already catching up with the cost of living in Western countries.


Cities like Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore are among the most expensive cities to live in because of the increasing house prices and the overall cost of living. The jobs in central locations pay pretty well but the cost of apartments is ridiculously expensive. 

Here are the top ten most expensive cities in Asia. The measurement for the cities on the list is attributed to a number of factors including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.


10. Shanghai

10. Shanghai,

Cost of living: $1,263

At the 10th spot of the most expensive cities in Asia is Shanghai in China. Like most cities, Shanghai is expensive because of the high demand and low availability in terms of real estate. Because a lot of people are residing here, more commercial establishments are in place to cater to the community’s needs.

Employment is relatively high in this area, and pay is pretty good. However, goods in supermarkets are more expensive. According to Statistica, a full-time employee in Shanghai earns about 85,580 yuan or $1,207 a month. However, the cost of living can reach $600 without rent.

9. Seoul

9. Seoul,

Cost of living: $1,411

Aside from the eccentric city life and family-oriented culture in Seoul, the city also has the highest salary range for employees in Asia. Regular employees are paid more or less $2,300 a month, usually more for engineers, doctors, and bankers.

While the salary is relatively higher as in other cities, the cost of living in Seoul is insane. This is due to the demand, as more countryside employees seek employment in the capital city.

8. Osaka

8. Osaka,

Cost of living: $1,552

Osaka is a thriving location in Asia located on the island of Honshu. Following Tokyo, this city is now a hub of commercial establishments not limited to food and shopping centers. To date, there are more jobs created for the residents, increasing the property rental and ownership altogether.

This city is arguably in the top 20 expensive cities in the world, determined by the cost of properties, food, and transportation. The average salary in this city is higher at ¥4,000,000 but the cost of living is 100% higher than the national average.

7. Dubai

7. Dubai,

Cost of living: $1,836

One of the world’s best investment hubs is UAE’s Dubai, or the capital city. For years, the cost of living in Dubai has been increasing because of the demand for properties. Expats move to Dubai because of a number of reasons, particularly the beautiful beaches and exciting business ventures.

The continual rise in real estate led to the risen cost of goods and services, catering to the increasing number of people. In numbers, Dubai is considered the most populous city in the UAE.

6. Tokyo

6. Tokyo,

Cost of living: $2,080

To live comfortably in Tokyo, families need to make ends meet and pay for expensive housing at a decent distance from the central city. The net salary is around ¥325,000 per month. However, with the cost of housing, food, and other utilities, saving money is quite difficult.

Japan attracts not just tourists but also expats who want to live permanently in this country. There are better business opportunities but the cost of living is just not practical.

5. Abu Dhabi

5. Abu Dhabi,

Cost of living: $2,230

One of the cities in the Middle East with expensive living costs is Abu Dhabi. Landing on the 23rd spot in the most expensive cities in the world to live, Abu Dhabi has high property prices in both rental and buying markets.

The massive growth in investments brought a direct impact on the cost of living. The cost of houses began to increase, as the demand is higher in key locations of the city. Additionally, the cost of food is high, regardless of eating out or buying groceries.

4. Beijing

4. Beijing,

Cost of living: $2,301

Even though China is generally more affordable than other great economic powers, living in Beijing is not entirely cheap, especially the real estate properties. Residents pay approximately $1,100 to $1,500 for a one-bedroom apartment in Beijing.

Some areas are cheaper, however, the cost of food, clothing, and other services are higher compared to other cities and provinces in China. Even though this is the situation, Beijing is still one of the most populous cities in the whole country.

3. Hong Kong

3. Hong Kong,

Cost of living: $2,624

Hong Kong continues to be one of the most expensive cities in Asia because of the towering cost of housing. The city’s cost of living is insane, not to mention the food is also terribly expensive.

Eating out in Hong Kong will cost about $82 per person minimum, and this isn’t a steak meal. Housing is the problem why most people suffer from a higher cost of living. The average cost of housing is $1,700 for an unsubsidized building and a little more than $2,000 for a 400-square-foot flat.

2. Singapore

2. Singapore,

Cost of living: $3,200

Singapore is one of the regularly featured expensive places in the world to live. The high-class public services combined with towering real estate, make residents pay for more just to get by. Because of the varying employment opportunities in Singapore, many people wish to live here.

The problem now is, the land area is limited and the cost of living in a decent apartment is ridiculously expensive. The average monthly salary in Singapore is $5,000. However, rental costs can reach $1,000 to $2,000 depending on the location and size of the apartment.

1. Ashgabat

1. Ashgabat,

Cost of living: $3,655

Last year, the city of Ashgabat in Turkmenistan ranked first in the most expensive places for expats. This is due to the severe inflation of imports and the black market for foreign currencies.

For a family to survive in this city, the monthly household income should not be lower than $4,000. This is enough to pay for housing, food, utilities, and other expenses. In recent years, the city witnessed a dramatic increase in digital nomads who stay in Ashgabat to work remotely.



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The cost of living in Asia is increasing each year as demand for housing rises. More than housing, residents need to consider the cost of food, clothing, and utilities to afford to live comfortably in the mentioned cities.