New Zealand can claim bragging rights on one measure over Australia, with a global survey revealing Auckland has overtaken Sydney as the more expensive city for expatriates to live.
International labour mobility service provider ECA International’s latest rankings for the most expensive cities for expatriates has seen Kiwi cities push up 64 places on average, making them the highest climbers in the past year.
Auckland in 44th and Wellington in 47th both beat Australia’s most expensive Sydney, which ranked 53rd, with Christchurch closely following at 54th. Sydney had been as high as 15th in 2011 when the Australian dollar was a lot stronger.
“This is the first time since our cost of living rankings began that Auckland is more expensive than Sydney for expatriates,” said ECA Asia regional director Lee Quane.
“On average, ranked locations in New Zealand now sit higher than their Australian counterparts. The New Zealand dollar has gone from strength to strength making New Zealand a relatively expensive place to live.”
Globally, Tokyo was judged as the most expensive place for expats, climbing from 12th position last year. Last year’s most expensive city Zurich fell to number three, while Manhattan fell from 15th to 24th as part of a general trend of US cities becoming cheaper in the past year.
The ECA survey compares “a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services” typically purchased by expat workers for day-to-day living in more than 450 global locations. The company uses the results to help customers work out the level of cost of living allowances for staff assigned to foreign sites. Accommodation, utilities, cars and school fees are not covered in the research, as those expenses are usually covered by other corporate allowances.
ECA also released some typical price comparisons between London, New York City, Hong Kong and Sydney. Among the four, Hong Kong was the most expensive place to enjoy 500mL of beer at a bar, costing a whopping US$12.29, while the same would cost US$10.04 in New York and less than US$9 in London and Sydney. Hong Kong also had the most expensive petrol (US$2.02 per litre) and medium cappuccino (US$5.03).