Milan world’s 7th most expensive city according to UBS

Cost of living high in Milan when measured against salaries.

Milan comes in at seventh place for cost of living in the chart of 77 cities worldwide, reports Swiss bank UBS in its 17th annual survey, published this week.

Zurich again tops the list as the world’s most expensive city when considering purchasing power, closely followed by Swiss rival Geneva. Milan at seventh place is followed at a considerable distance by Rome at 28th, meaning that living in the capital eats up far less of a typical salary.

Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, presenting the 2018 report, stated: "Purchasing power matters to all of us as individuals and as investors. Whether you are planning your next vacation or trying to understand long term shifts in economic power, our study provides a detailed analysis of prices around the world."

According to the study’s purchasing power index, residents of European and North American cities typically enjoy the best buying power overall, with Bahrain’s capital Manama and Hong Kong the only non-transatlantic contenders in the top ten. Global financial capitals New York and London rank 10th and 23rd respectively.

Isolating as an example just one of the 128 prices analysed, global purchasing power differences become clearly visible. For example, a standard haircut for women costs US$94.32 in Zurich (Switzerland), compared to $22.60 in Kiev (Ukraine), $12.17 in Mexico City and $7.50 in Cairo. However, while a woman in Zurich typically only has to work 3.05 hours to afford this service, the same expenditure requires 12.09 hours of work in Kiev, 5.86 hours in Mexico City and 6.11 hours in Cairo.  In Milan, 4.16 hours of work are required to pay for a woman’s haircut.