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Australian cities become even more expensive over past year, survey finds

Sydney was one of the few cities to have become more expensive over the past year. Photo: Getty
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The cost of living in Sydney has soared over the past year, with the harbour city now ranking among the world’s most expensive cities, according to a global study.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey (WCOL) for 2018 found Sydney to be the fourth-most expensive city in Asia and the 10th-most expensive in the world.

The unit’s latest report showed Sydney had leapt 10 spots, from 20th to 10th in the space of just the past three surveys.

It also ranked Australia’s five largest cities among the 15 most expensive in Asia, with all five having got more expensive over the past year.

Melbourne came in at the seventh-most expensive city in Asia, and the 14th-most expensive in the world. Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth were ranked 12th, 13th and 15th-most expensive (in Asia), respectively.

The Economist report each year examines the world’s most and least expensive cities by calculating factors such as wages and the prices of more than 150 consumer items, including bread, wine, cigarettes, and petrol in 133 cities.

The cost of living in each city is ranked in comparison with New York, whereby New York has an index score of 100, and one extra point equates to a 1 per cent increase in living costs.

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit

For example, Sydneysiders pay an average of $US20.49 for a bottle of  wine, significantly more than in the notoriously expensive cities of Paris ($US11.90), Zurich ($US15.89), Geneva ($US8.37) and Copenhagen ($US13.28).

While a packet of cigarettes will set you back $US23.89 in Sydney, the same pack costs just $US7.03 in Copenhagen.

By contrast, Sydney came out well for the cost of fuel. A litre of unleaded petrol costs $US0.98 in Sydney, well below the next cheapest of Seoul ($US1.34) and less than half the cost in Oslo ($US2.02).

Among Asia’s 10 most expensive cities, Sydney and Melbourne were the only centres to have become more expensive over the past year, with all others either falling or remaining the same.

The report found that the stronger Australian dollar over that period had pushed our cities higher up the global rankings. Brisbane and Adelaide both jumped five places, Perth up three, Sydney went up four spots and Melbourne one.

world's most expensive cities

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit

Singapore held its title of the world’s most expensive city, with an index of 116, that is, 16 per cent more expensive to live in than New York.

The cost of living in Asia’s rapidly expanding cities like Singapore, Hong Kong and Seoul has ballooned in recent years, and in the last two WCOL surveys, Asian cities have featured prominently.

However, European cities still dominate the list, making up five of the top nine most expensive cities in the world.

The world’s 10 most expensive cities

10. Sydney, Australia (102)

9. Tel Aviv, Israel (103)

8. Copenhagen, Denmark (105)

7. Seoul, South Korea (106)

6. Geneva, Switzerland (106)

5. Oslo, Norway (107)

4. Hong Kong (111)

3. Zurich, Switzerland (112)

2. Paris, France (112)

1. Singapore (116)

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