BSB cost of living ranked 63 of 135

Azlan Othman

Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB) jumped 10 notches and is in the middle of Numbeo’s Cost of Living (CoL) Index Table with the sultanate’s capital now ranked as the 63rd most expensive city out of 135 cities globally. It is the ninth most expensive in the Asia-Pacific region and third in Southeast Asia. It was ranked the 73rd most expensive last year.

Numbeo, the world’s largest CoL database, is also a crowd-sourced global database of quality of life information including housing indicators, perceived crime rates and quality of healthcare, among other statistics. The Numbeo index compares the CoL across the world relative to New York City, which has an index score of 100 (100 per cent). The index looks at the relative costs across several categories, including rent, the cost of food, transport and entertainment.

It also takes the local purchasing power into account. If another city has, for example, a rent index of 120, it means that on an average in that city, rents are 20 per cent more expensive than in New York City. If a city has a rent index of 70, this means on an average in that city, rents are 30 per cent less expensive than in New York City.

The report said BSB’s CoL index is 55.86 per cent lower than New York. Rent in BSB is, on average, 77.88 per cent lower than in New York. BSB has a CoL index of 44.14.

Meals at an inexpensive restaurant in the sultanate costs BND4.99 per person. A regular cappuccino costs BND4.64, a 0.33 litre can of softdrink costs BND1.20 and 12 pieces of egg (regular) costs BND3.46.

A general view of Bandar Seri Begawan from Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

The report said it costs BND2,776.28 for a family of four a month without rent in the sultanate while for a single person the monthly cost is BND800.15 without rent.

The leader by CoL is Bermuda. The list also includes Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Japan.

The CoL and rent is highest in Bermuda, Hong Kong, Singapore, Luxembourg and Switzerland. The cheapest rent is in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Cuba, Nepal and Algeria.

The restaurant prices are highest in Bermuda Isles, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Denmark. The lowest prices are in Tunisia, Algeria, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. The CoL index by country is updated by Numbeo twice per year.

Mercer’s 2020 CoL Survey published last month stated that BSB is also getting less expensive for expatriates living and working, as the Brunei capital fell 16 places to rank 118th globally. It was in the 102nd place in last year’s ranking.

In Southeast Asia, the sultanate’s capital is in ninth place after Singapore (fifth globally), Bangkok (35th), Manila (80th), Yangon (83rd), Jakarta (86th), Phnom Penh (109th), Ho Chi Minh (111th) and Hanoi (118th) while in the Asia-Pacific it ranked at 30th place.