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Manila 3rd most expensive city to live in ASEAN

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - April 23, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine capital is the third most expensive city to live in in Southeast Asia, with cost of living in Manila significantly higher than the salary of an individual, a survey showed.

Based on a study by price aggregator iPrice Group, the cost of living in Manila is quite expensive, ranking third next to Singapore and Bangkok among six popular ASEAN cities.

The estimated average monthly cost of living for a single person in Manila is at P50,798, close to Bangkok’s P51,517.

This is significantly lower than in Singapore, a developed nation, with P119,732 per month.

iPrice’s study takes into account necessities including rent, food, transportation and utilities, among others.

Without rent, the total cost of living in Manila still reaches about P28,800 per month.

Jakarta came in fourth at P41,026 per month, followed by Ho Chi Minh and Kuala Lumpur with P39,608 and P38,314, respectively.

Further, Manila recorded the second-highest rent prices among the six cities. The study showed that it is much cheaper to rent a room in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta.

“It is quite surprising that a developing country’s capital city, which is way behind Singapore in terms of economic development, has the second-highest rent prices in the region,” iPrice said.

The cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Manila is 56 percent higher than Kuala Lumpur’s, 47 percent than Jakarta’s, and 31 percent higher than Ho Chi Minh’s.

“And yet, these are all cities that have comparable economic states. Surprisingly, it is even nine percent higher than Bangkok’s, which is a Southeast Asian tourist hotspot,” it said.

It should be noted that bed space rentals are common in Manila where residents resort to renting bed spaces and sharing rooms with others instead of an entire apartment.

Worse, Manila has the lowest estimated average net salary among the other cities. Its average salary, based on the contributors’ data and aggregated information from authoritative sources, is only about P18,900 per month.

This only means that the average cost of living is 168 percent higher than the average salary.

“It comes as no surprise that about 35 percent of Metro Manila’s population is reported to live in unstable, badly constructed shelters in the slums, and 11 percent of these reside near railroads or garbage dumps,” iPrice said.

“This leaves a question as to what other things Manila residents need to bear with given the high costs and low wages. Perhaps, leisure expenses or take-outs are kept to a minimum or are not enjoyed at all. This, along with Manila having the second-worst traffic in the world,” it said.

Operating in the seven markets, iPrice has three business lines: price comparison for electronics and health and beauty; product discovery for fashion and home and  living; and coupons across all verticals.

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