Sign in

Sydney and Canberra back in the top 50 most expensive locations for expatriates

  • Sydney and Canberra back in top 50 most expensive locations for expatriates for the first time since 2014
  • Australian cities see increases in cost of living rankings, while New Zealand locations drop
  • Asian cities dominate the top 50 most expensive locations, making up over half the entries

Sydney and Canberra, Australia, are once again among the top 50 most expensive locations in the world for expatriates, ranking 48th and 50th respectively in the rankings.

This was one of the findings in the latest cost of living survey published by ECA International, the world's leading provider of knowledge, information and software for the management and assignment of employees around the world.

“The Australian dollar has had a strong 12 months compared to other currencies and this has seen all the Australian cities on our list move up the rankings,” said Steven Kilfedder, Production Manager, ECA International. “However, Australian cities still have some work to do to get back to the levels they were at in 2012, when seven were in the top 50.” 

ECA International has been conducting research into cost of living for over 45 years. It carries out two cost of living surveys per year to help companies calculate cost of living allowances so that their employees' spending power is not compromised while on international assignment. The surveys compare a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in 470 locations worldwide. Certain living costs, such as accommodation rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees are usually covered by separate allowances. Data for these costs are collected separately and are not included in ECA’s cost of living basket.

Elsewhere in Australasia, there has been a fall for the New Zealand cities on the list, with Auckland and Wellington both dropping out of the global top 50. In 2016, both locations were more expensive for expatriates than any Australian location, but this trend proved to be short-lived, with four Australian cities now overtaking their New Zealand neighbours in our rankings.

Global highlights – Luanda returns to the top spot, Khartoum rises over 200 places in five years and UK cities continue to fall 

Luanda has returned to the top of ECA’s global rankings this year. The Angolan capital has been consistently in the top five most expensive cities since 2012.

“The cost of goods typically purchased by international assignees in Luanda, which was already high due to poor infrastructure and high oil-fuelled demand, continues to be pushed even higher. The Angolan kwanza is increasingly overvalued, which pushes up relative costs; while the ongoing weakness of the black-market exchange rate has also inflated the price of imported goods,” added Kilfedder.

Khartoum, Sudan, is up to second place on the list of most expensive cities and has risen by 224 places in just five years, as currency shortages and rising prices continue to take effect on the African nation.

Central London has slipped down the rankings and is now the 139th most expensive location for expatriates, down 36 places from the 2016 survey and falling 78 places in five years. Other UK cities have shown the same trend, with the next most expensive cities, Edinburgh and Manchester, dropping to 163rd and 173rd respectively. 

Australasia top 10 most expensive locations
Location
2017 ranking
2016 ranking
Sydney
48
53
Canberra
50
61
Melbourne
51
62
Perth
54
65
Auckland
57
44
Brisbane
58
72
Wellington
60
47
Darwin
62
76
Adelaide
64
80
Christchurch
67
54

 

Global top 20 most expensive locations
Location
2017 ranking
2016 ranking
Luanda
1
2
Khartoum
2
21
Zurich
3
3
Geneva
4
4
Basel
5
6
Bern
6
8
Oslo
7
14
Tokyo
8
1
Hong Kong
9
11
Stavanger
10
20
Seoul
11
12
Shanghai
12
13
Tel Aviv
13
19
Copenhagen
14
23
Jerusalem
15
22
Beijing
16
15
Kinshasa
17
10
Yokohama
18
5
Nagoya
19
7
Osaka
20
9

-ENDS-

Note to Editors

Figures used in this release were taken from ECA's September 2017 Cost of Living Survey. 

About ECA International 

ECA International is the market-leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

Partnering with thousands of clients on every continent, we provide a fully-integrated suite of quality data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.
 
We make the complex world of international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support they need to make the right decisions - every time.
 
ECA International: Mobility solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.

About ECA's Cost of Living Survey

ECA International's main cost of living surveys are carried out in March and September using a basket of day-to-day goods and services commonly purchased by assignees. The data used above refers to year-on-year movements between ECA's September 2012 to 2017 surveys. ECA’s cost of living survey rankings began in 2004.

Cost of living indices are used by ECA’s clients to calculate cost of living allowances for assignees. The survey covers:

Food: Groceries; dairy produce; meat and fish; fresh fruit and vegetables 
Basic: Household goods; recreational goods; general services; leisure services
General: Clothing; electrical goods; motoring; meals out; alcohol and tobacco

Certain living costs such as accommodation rental, utilities charges (electricity, gas, and water), car purchases and school fees are not included in the survey. Such items can make a significant difference to expenses but are usually compensated for separately in expatriate packages.

This comparison of cost of living was calculated on a base composed of various developed countries and is used to reflect an international lifestyle. Other indices available from ECA reflect specific city-to-city comparisons, and different levels of shopping efficiency.

ECA's blog provides updates and commentary on currency, inflation and expatriate cost of living. Follow the blog here.

Like this article? Share it... Twitter Facebook   LinkedIn