Manila 2nd most expensive city in ASEAN

Published April 21, 2021, 3:38 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Manila has the second-highest rent prices among six major cities in Southeast Asia right after Singapore, according to a new research.

Based on iPrice Group’s research, living in Manila can be quite a challenge, especially monetarily. The meta-search group gathered the estimated monthly cost of living in six Southeast Asian capital cities on Numeo, one of the world’s largest cost of living database. 

The research data showed that the price of a one-bedroom apartment in the Manila city center is 56 percent higher than Kuala Lumpur’s, 47 percent higher than Jakarta’s, 31 percent higher than Ho Chi Minh’s. 

“And yet, these are all cities that have comparable economic states. Manila is even 9 percent higher than Bangkok’s, which is a Southeast Asian tourist hotspot,” the study commented.

In addition, Manila has the third most expensive cost of living and the lowest average salary, according to the study. The cost of living in Singapore is at least 132 percent higher than the others, which the study considered understandable because of its economic status. Bangkok and Manila are neck and neck at the top. 

Bangkok has an estimated monthly cost of living of P51,500 for a single person, the study added. This takes into account every necessity (rent, food, transportation, utilities, etc.). 

Manila is not that further down, with an estimated monthly cost of P50,800 for a single person, which is only 1 percent lower than the former. Without rent, the total cost of living still reaches about P28,800 per month in Manila. 

Manila’s cost of living also topped  the others by 33 percent (Kuala Lumpur), 28 percent (Vietnam), and 24 percent (Jakarta). The city’s average salary, based on the contributors’ data and aggregated information from authoritative sources, is only about P18,900 per month. 

In addition, the average cost of living in Manila is 168 percent higher than the average salary.

In Manila, it said, bed space rentals are commonly practiced. Instead of renting actual rooms or an entire apartment, some locals resort to renting bed spaces and sharing rooms with others.