Oslo not the world’s most expensive city (yet) / News / The Foreigner

Oslo not the world’s most expensive city (yet). Norway residents baulking at high prices in the Norwegian capital can draw some financial comfort in relation to those in other cities, even if perhaps theoretical. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released its latest list of the ten most expensive and cheapest cities to live in in the world. Moving up Singapore is now the world’s costliest city after has dethroning last year’s first-place Tokyo.             

oslo, norwayprices, moving



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Oslo not the world’s most expensive city (yet)

Published on Wednesday, 12th March, 2014 at 10:28 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Manisha Choudhari   .
Last Updated on 12th March 2014 at 12:20.

Norway residents baulking at high prices in the Norwegian capital can draw some financial comfort in relation to those in other cities, even if perhaps theoretical.

Oslo skyline
Oslo skyline
Photo: Inez Dawczyk/The Foreigner


The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released its latest list of the ten most expensive and cheapest cities to live in in the world.

Moving up

Singapore is now the world’s costliest city after has dethroning last year’s first-place Tokyo.             

The city “has been steadily moving up the ranking over the last decade, to claim the unenviable title of world’s most expensive,” the report states.

Oslo has moved up a place in the bi-annual report, and is now at third place. Only Paris is more expensive.

The rankings are as follows:

1. Singapore
2. Paris
3. Oslo
4. Zurich
5. Sydney
6. Caracas
7. Geneva
8. Melbourne
9. Tokyo
10. Copenhagen

According to the EIU the ten cheapest world cities to live are:

1. Mumbai
2. Karachi
3. New Delhi
4. Damascus
5. Kathmandu
6. Algiers
7. Bucharest
8. Panama City
9. Jeddah
10.Riyadh

The VAT trap

Norway’s standard rate of VAT is 25% on items including food (with some exceptions), all clothes, and personal care goods. It is 8% on transport. (Public transport is often a better option, as prices for cars (except VAT-exempt EVs) are exorbitant).

Electrical items and clothes in Norway can be fairly reasonably-priced, but this 25% VAT rate and higher labour costs than in other European countries make living costs add up. (Hungary’s standard VAT rate is 27%, with 18% applied to foodstuffs).

Some 10% of an annual household’s income is spent on food in Norway. This is affordable at Norwegian wage-levels, though the weekly shopping bill can be high for some.

A recent cost of living overview Expatistan shows common items such as a litre of whole fat milk will cost 15 kroner, 500g local cheese 60 kroner, and 25 kroner for a 2kg bag of potatoes.

Drink, eat, and be levied

Alcoholic beverages are expensive, though, especially as they have a special levy imposed on them – whether drinking out or buying in.

Some types are only available in Vinmonopolet, a state alcohol monopoly outfit.

As The Foreigner has reported, there may be an easing of supermarket alcohol sales times and types may happen under the present centre-right bi-partite coalition, though.

Current Ministry of Finance levels over and above the current 25% VAT rate, which may increase, are (prices per kroner per alc/vol % and litre):

  • Fortified wines (over 0.7%): 6.85 kroner
  • Other alcohol types (4.7-22%): 4.46 kroner
  • Alcohol (4.7%, which includes beers):
    0-0.7%: Gratis
    0.7.-2.7%: 3.06 kroner
    2.7-3.7%: 11.52 kroner
    3.7%-4.7%: 19.96 kroner

Chocolate and other sugary snacks imported to or made in Norway also have a special tax of 18.91 kroner/kg imposed on them in addition to the VAT, according to Customs and Excise.

Moreover, eating out is generally expensive – though Oslo has some cheap places to eat (in addition to fast food restaurants) due to a plethora of choice. Oil capital Stavanger is expensive and possibilities limited.

Facts about the Economist Intelligence Unit’s survey:

  • Compares more than 400 individual prices.
  • Across 160 products and services.
  • Includes food and drink, utility bills, household supplies, personal care items, clothing, and transport.
  • Published bi-annually.




Published on Wednesday, 12th March, 2014 at 10:28 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Manisha Choudhari   .
Last updated on 12th March 2014 at 12:20.

This post has the following tags: oslo, norwayprices, moving.


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