Australian dream gets costly as cities outprice Europe, U.S

Mon Feb 4, 2013 11:31am EST
 
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By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - The cost of living the Australian dream has surged with Sydney and Melbourne among the five most expensive cities in the world, outstripping most European and U.S. locations, according to an annual survey released on Monday.

Asia and Australasia account for 11 of the world's top 20 most expensive cities, with eight from Europe and one from South America, the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) worldwide cost of living index found. No North American cities featured in the top 20.

This compared to a decade ago when there were six Asian cities, 10 European cities and four U.S. cities in the top 20 of the list that calculates living costs in 131 cities in 93 countries and is used by companies for costings when relocating staff.

In the 2013 survey, Tokyo reclaimed the title as the world's most expensive city. Currency swings pushed Zurich into the No.1 position last year but government exchange rate controls have driven the Swiss city back to No.7 in the list.

Osaka in Japan was ranked the second most expensive.

Jon Copestake, editor of the EIU Worldwide Cost of Living Index, said one of the most notable changes was the rising costs in Australia, with Sydney third in the list and Melbourne fifth. Sandwiched between them was Oslo in Norway.

"Ten years ago there were no Australian cities in the top 50 most expensive cities and I have not seen this sort of climb with any other cities," Copestake told Reuters.

"But economic growth has supported inflation and the strength of the Australian dollar against other currencies besides the U.S. dollar has driven up costs. Visitors will certainly feel the difference and people living there will have noticed prices have crept up."   Continued...

 
A tourist walks towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge at Circular Quay September 24, 2008 as clouds form in the distance. REUTERS/Will Burgess