Singapore vs Hong Kong – Cost of Living

Table of Contents

The Legacy of Singapore vs Hong Kong

The significance of a city in human life cannot be overstated, as urban environments play a crucial role in shaping our lifestyles, opportunities, and overall well-being. In the dynamic landscape of global finance, two Asian metropolises, Singapore vs Hong Kong, stand out as prime destinations for professionals seeking not only career advancement but also a favorable tax environment.

These cities have earned a reputation as thriving financial hubs, drawing pool of talented individuals from around the world. One of the key factors driving the influx of expats is the status of Singapore and Hong Kong as tax havens. The strategic decision by numerous multinational corporations to establish their headquarters in these locations has created a unique appeal. The significantly lower income tax rates in Singapore and Hong Kong serve as a major incentive for high-earning individuals. Income tax rate in Singapore is 22% flat rate & for Hong Kong is 17% for more than USD 2500. This draws some of the best talent, as professionals can enjoy a higher take-home pay compared to many other global cities. The financial rewards, coupled with the professional opportunities, make these cities highly desirable for those looking to elevate their career and living.

However, before making a move to either Singapore or Hong Kong, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the cost of living in these cities. This knowledge will enable you to plan your future with greater insight and make informed decisions about your financial considerations.

This article highlights key expenses associated with the cost of living in any city when undergoing a relocation and the bifurcation for the same.

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Housing / Rent

The primary and most substantial expense for any individual is the cost of housing rent. Rent in Singapore and Hong Kong is more expensive compared to other cities. Despite the high costs, residents in Singapore and Hong Kong often find themselves navigating these financial challenges, as the allure of living in these vibrant and cosmopolitan cities persists. Below is the detailed cost description for housing rent.

Apartment TypeAreaSingapore (USD)Hong Kong (USD)
Affordable one Bedroom Apartment430 Sq ft.$2015$1538
One Bedroom Apartment in Downtown430 Sq ft.$2816$2172
Affordable 3 Bedroom Apartment860 Sq ft.$3711$3058
3 Bedroom Apartment in Downtown860 Sq ft.$5606$4490
Source : Hong Kong vs Singapore City comparison: Cost of Living (livingcost.org)

Food & Groceries

The cost of food and groceries in Singapore and Hong Kong is influenced by various factors, reflecting the unique economic landscapes of these cosmopolitan cities. In Singapore, a diverse culinary scene coexists with an extensive network of food markets, catering to a wide range of tastes. While dining out can be relatively expensive in upscale areas, hawker centers and local markets offer more affordable options. Hong Kong, with its rich culinary heritage, boasts a plethora of dining choices, from traditional dim sum to international cuisine. However, like Singapore, the overall cost of living contributes to higher food prices. Below is the comparison of basic list of food and groceries in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Food & GroceriesHome/Outside FoodSingapore (USD)Hong Kong (USD)
Coffee, Lunch, Dinner for 2, Beer, Fast Food in a DayOutside Food$57.23$49.97
Fruits, Veggies, Meat, Bread, Milk, Drinks, Water & Basic Needs ( Weekly for 4 people )Home Food$153$142
Source : Hong Kong vs Singapore City comparison: Cost of Living (livingcost.org)

The Big Mac Index in Singapore & Hong Kong

The standard of living in Singapore & Hong Kong can be explored by the concept of Big Mac Index. This index is a popular and widely recognized tool that evaluates the cost of a Big Mac hamburger across various countries. The underlying notion is that a globally selling fast food item like the Big Mac, available at McDonald’s, should ideally have a similar price in any given country. It’s important to note, however, that the Big Mac Index has its limitations as a measure of Purchasing Power Parity ( PPP ). It focuses solely on one product and doesn’t account for other factors such as housing, transportation, and healthcare costs in the comparison.

LocationBig Max Price ( USD )Big Mac Index
Singapore$4.24 -17.66%
Hong Kong$2.68-48.06%
Source : Hong Kong vs Singapore City comparison: Cost of Living (livingcost.org)

The table above illustrates that the Big Mac Index for Singapore is 17.66% less than the Big Mac Index for the USA. Additionally, the Big Mac Index for Hong Kong is 48.06% lower than the corresponding index for the USA.

Transportation

Transportation costs in Singapore and Hong Kong play a crucial role in the overall expenses of residents in these bustling urban centers. Singapore, known for its efficient public transportation system, offers a variety of options, including buses and the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) network. While public transport is relatively affordable, owning a private vehicle involves additional expenses such as high taxes and Certificate of Entitlement (COE) fees, making car ownership a more substantial financial commitment.

In Hong Kong, the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) system is a lifeline for the majority of residents, providing a quick and convenient mode of transportation.However, Hong Kong’s compact urban layout also results in high living costs, including transportation expenses. Below is the cost associated with different transportation services in Singapore & Hong Kong.

Type of TransportationSingapore (USD)Hong Kong (USD)
Local Transport Ticket per person$1.48$1.53
Monthly Ticket Local Transport$96.5$63.5
Taxi Ride, 8 km$13.4$13.1
Gas / Petrol, 1 Litre$2.2$2.87
Source : Hong Kong vs Singapore City comparison: Cost of Living (livingcost.org)

Utility

Utility costs in Singapore and Hong Kong represent a significant component of the overall living expenses in these dynamic cities. Electricity costs in Singapore are relatively high due to the country’s reliance on imported natural gas for power generation. The Public Utilities Board (PUB) manages water supply, and Singapore encourages water conservation through various initiatives. Hong Kong has a subtropical climate, contributing to elevated electricity costs, especially during hot and humid periods. The Water Supplies Department oversees water services in Hong Kong, and residents are encouraged to use water responsibly. Both Singapore and Hong Kong emphasize sustainable practices, and residents are encouraged to adopt energy-efficient technologies to reduce their environmental impact and lower utility bills. Below is the comparison in terms of Utility Bills in both cities.

Type of UtilityPerson/ FamilySingapore (USD)Hong Kong (USD)
Electricity, Water, Heating Etc.1 Person$107$149
Electricity, Water, Heating Etc.Family$165$230
Internet Plan – 50 MBPS + 1 month unlimitedFamily$34.9$25.2
Source : Hong Kong vs Singapore City comparison: Cost of Living (livingcost.org)

Healthcare

Healthcare becomes crucial for expats settling in new city to maintain their well – being and address any health concerns that may arise anytime. Singapore and Hong Kong both have well-developed and efficient healthcare systems, earning international acclaim for their high standards of medical care. In Singapore, the healthcare system is known for excellent public hospitals, ensuring accessibility and quality whereas Hong Kong’s healthcare system is also known for its excellence, with a dual-track model offering both public and private options. According to statistical data in 2020, patient satisfaction rates indicate that Singapore achieved a score of 76%, while Hong Kong surpassed with a score of 85%. Expats can benefit from subsidized care in public hospitals and personalized services in private facilities in both cities. Please note the costs are based on one time consultation & Hospitalisation stay fees.

Type of TreatmentSingapore (USD)Hong Kong (USD)
Consultation ( Public )$15 – $40$13 – $15
Consultation ( Private )$40 – $110$90 – $ 400
Hospitalisation ( Public )Depends on the hospital & subsidystarts from $ 650
Hospitalisation ( Private )$750 – $2200starts from $780
Source : Hong Kong vs Singapore City comparison: Cost of Living (livingcost.org)

Education for Kids

Education for expat kids becomes vital when settling in a new city for parents. Firstly, a good education system ensures that children receive quality learning experiences, facilitating their academic and personal development. Access to reputable schools with international curricula or language options is crucial for expat families who often seek continuity in their children’s education. Moreover, enrolling in a school where other expat children attend can help in building a supportive social network, aiding the overall adjustment and assimilation process. Singapore & Hong Kong provides range of public as well as private schools for expats kids. Below are the average costs associated to type of school based in Singapore & Hong Kong.

Type of SchoolSingapore (USD)Hong Kong (USD)
Day Care / Pre – School for a month$1251$820
International Primary School for a year$27,609$20,404
Source : Hong Kong vs Singapore City comparison: Cost of Living (livingcost.org)

Entertainment

Finally, entertainment is an essential aspect of our lives, and for expatriates residing in Singapore and Hong Kong, the costs can be diverse, influenced by individual preferences and lifestyle choices. Expats in Singapore have the flexibility to enjoy budget-friendly hawker center meals, attend free outdoor events, or opt for more luxurious dining and entertainment experiences in renowned areas such as Clarke Quay or Marina Bay Sands. Similarly, in Hong Kong, known for its dynamic fusion of East-meets-West culture, expatriates can explore a wide range of entertainment options. This includes strolling through lively street markets, immersing themselves in the vibrant nightlife of areas like Lan Kwai Fong, and finding choices that cater to various budgets. Below is the cost involved for watching movie in theatre & gym membership in Singapore & Hong Kong.

EntertainmentSingapore (USD)Hong Kong (USD)
Cinema Tickets ( with popcorn and coke )$99.2$90.8
Gym Membership ( 1 month )$11.2$13.1
Source : Hong Kong vs Singapore City comparison: Cost of Living (livingcost.org)

Conclusion

In conclusion, the comparison of the cost of living in Singapore and Hong Kong reflects the unique economic landscapes and lifestyles in each city. While both are global financial hubs with high living standards, there are notable differences in specific expense categories. Singapore, with its efficient public transportation and diverse culinary options, may appeal to those seeking a slightly more affordable lifestyle.

On the other hand, Hong Kong’s dynamic blend of cultures and vibrant atmosphere comes with its own set of costs, particularly in terms of accommodation. Ultimately, the decision between these two cities hinges on individual priorities, career opportunities, and personal preferences. Expatriates and residents alike must carefully consider their lifestyle requirements and financial considerations to determine which city aligns best with their needs.

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