Luxury wedding banquets have become pricier

Luxury wedding banquets have become pricier

Throwing a wedding banquet at a top Singapore hotel will set a person back 14 per cent more, on average, this year than last year.

But getting a men's suit and some jewellery for the big day will cost 8 to 20 per cent less.

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

The index compiles the average prices of 20 goods and services across 11 cities that "closely reflect" the consumption habits of Asia's wealthy, such as golf club memberships, pianos, jewellery and even Botox injections.

The cost of education rose especially sharply across the board, the study found. University fees jumped 21 to 44 per cent, with the sharpest rise in Tokyo.

CIMB economist Song Seng Wun said the cost of education will likely continue rising. "Those who can afford to pay are willing to pay more for well-known schools, of which supply is limited."

Weddings are also pricier now. In seven cities, a wedding banquet for 250 guests at a top hotel costs between 1 per cent and 26 per cent more than last year. Here, such a party costs US$78,633 (S$100,000) today, the sixth priciest place for lavish nuptials.

Julius Baer noted: "Weddings are subject to fashion and trends and we cannot rule out that simpler, more intimate celebrations may become more prevalent in the future."

Singapore was the third most expensive city for luxury homes and high-end health care. A luxury property costs about US$12.9 million here, making it cheaper than Hong Kong, where a similar unit goes for US$38.6 million, and Shanghai, where it costs US$15.4 million.

A one-night stay for a person with high fever in the most luxurious Singapore hospital costs US$463 now. In this area, Shanghai took top spot, with a similar stay costing US$1,113, followed by Bangkok, where it is US$594.

Singapore, however, is among the cheapest of the 11 cities for Botox injections. A Botox treatment at a high-end private clinic costs US$342 on average here.

Overall, prices fell 6.3 per cent for Singapore in US dollar terms. One reason could be that the US dollar was weaker against the Singdollar in the second quarter of this year, when Julius Baer collected data for the study, than in the same period last year, said UOB economist Francis Tan.

yasminey@sph.com.sg

wrennie@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Oct 15, 2014.
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