TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taipei has been listed as the 4th most expensive city in Asia for luxury living in the Julius Baer Wealth Report Asia 2017, the 7th year the annual report has been generated based on a basket of luxury goods and services.
The cost of 22 luxury goods and services tracked by Julius Baer increased 4.9 percent year-on-year, due to an increase in costs of many of the items tracked and a stronger Taiwan dollar (+6.7 percent).
Luxury items on the list which increased the most in price were golf club memberships (+31 percent), business class flights (+16 percent) and botox (+14 percent). However hotel suites dropped in price by 17 percent.
Taipei rose from 6th place to 4th on Julius Baer's list of 11 cities in Asia this year due to a surging Taiwan dollar. The luxury consulting firm listed Taipei as still being a good spot for "bargain hunters" seeking relatively less expensive lawyers, hospital stays, and Lasik surgery.
Taipei ranked fourth in fine dining at US$244 (NT$7,359) per meal in 2017, a 6.7 percent increase from 2016. The top three on the list were Hong Kong (US$287), Singapore (US$283), and Shanghai (US$280).
When it came to Lasik surgery, Taipei was relatively cheap at second to last place at US$1,854 (NT$56,000), an increase of 6.7 percent from last year. Seoul was the cheapest at US$1,506 and Bangkok was the most expensive at US$3,496.
For business class flights, Taipei came in at the middle of the pack at US$5,077 (NT$153,383), a 15.8 percent increase from last year. Hong Kong was the most costly at US$6,264 and Bangkok was cheapest at US$3,761.
Property value continued to rise in dollar terms in Taipei putting it in 4th place at US$21,681 per square meter, though due to the strengthening Taiwan dollar this actually meant a decrease of 3.7 percent in Taiwan dollars to NT$673,989, proving the power of exchange rates. Hong Kong topped this list with an eye-watering US$51,595, an increase of 4.9 percent, and far higher than last place finisher Kuala Lumpur's US$3,363, which dropped by 6.6 percent from the previous year.
The cost of a Cartier Love Bracelet, which is 18K white gold, black ceramic set with 204 diamonds totaling 2.18 carats, is US$44,687 in Taipei, compared to US$48,348 in Shanghai, the most expensive, and US$39,909 in Hong Kong, the least expensive.
As for luxury wheels, a BMW 7 Series in Taipei at US$212,182 is below the average cost of US$229,076, and almost half the price of the same car in Singapore where it goes for US$418,052.
The most expensive city on the list was Hong Kong mainly due to the astronomical price of property there. Shanghai was hot on the heels of Hong Kong leading six of the items on their list, including Lasik, wine, jewelry, botox, cigars, and skin cream. Singapore fell a notch from last year to 3rd place, while Kuala Lumpur dropped down to last place due to the continued depreciation of the Malaysian ringgit (-6 percent).