In Asia, luxury goods cost the most in Shanghai

In Asia, luxury goods cost the most in Shanghai
Thomas Meier.
PHOTO: The Business Times

Shanghai remains the most expensive Asian city for luxury goods but Singapore is still the priciest for cars, according to a new Bank Julius Baer report.

It noted that the Chinese city will set you back the most when forking out for men's suits, facial aesthetic services and hospital stays.

But as any driver here will attest, Singapore does not take a back seat on vehicle costs with the report noting that a black standard Mercedes SL550 costs US$475,108 (S$662,669), which was "partially reflective of special car-related taxes".

The findings are part of the latest Julius Baer Lifestyle Index, which the private bank has compiled annually since 2011.

The index collates the average prices of 20 goods and services such as golf club memberships and business class flights across 11 cities to show the lifestyle of Asia's wealthy.

Singapore was the third most expensive, with relatively high prices for renting a hotel suite, staying in hospital, getting a will drafted by a lawyer and buying a home.

Dr Thomas Meier, the bank's Asia head, told The Straits Times that there had not been a lot of transactions for luxury residential apartments this year.

"The cost of acquiring residential property for foreigners is becoming expensive. And the cooling measures have worked quite well, so you don't see a lot of movement in that segment," he noted.

The report also introduced a new feature, the "basket of the future", which predicts trends of goods and services over the next 10 to 15 years.

It said: "There can be no doubt that alternative energy cars are starting to make their mark in the luxury car market. The development of millionaires attached to the tech sector bodes well for luxury tech cars."

The bank also noted that the Lafite Rothschild 2000 wine - what it calls the hero wine - could not be found in Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Manila and Bangkok, so it was hard to get the regional prices.

Mr Simon Tam, Christies' head of wine in Asia, added that such wines have "captured the imagination of new collectors".

Julius Baer senior analyst Pearlyn Wong said: "Potentially, we may look at replacing the hero wine with other top performers like champagne."

Dr Meier added: "These topics of how future trends will impact your life are becoming more relevant. It's not enough to get an analysis of today's situation."

This article was first published on October 29, 2015.
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