Dollar for pound, Australia’s cities are ludicrously overpriced
THE HARD WORD | Are we expats really surprised by the fact that three Australian cities are now rated as more expensive than London? Surely not. But if and when we choose to return to the motherland, we can head home with the knowledge that $1 is actually worth a lot more than we once appreciated.
ARE us expats really surprised by the fact that three Australian cities are now rated as more expensive than London?
Are we Australians living in London really shocked that Sydney, Melbourne and Perth now rank among the world’s 20 most expensive cities, while the British capital dropped to 25th?
Here at The Hard Word, the news was completely expected.
It’s such a throwaway line many of us use when referring to other countries, and “how cheap they are,” but until you’ve travelled, and indeed lived abroad, it’s difficult to appreciate just how expensive Australia is to live in.
The world’s 50 most expensive cities, released this week, found Sydney had jumped to from No.14 to No.11. Melbourne also moved up, from No.21 to No.15.
Mercer principal Nathalie Constantin-Metral said: “Cities in Australia and New Zealand witnessed some of the biggest jumps, as their currencies strengthened significantly against the US dollar. Demand for rental properties has also increased significantly in all the Australian cities, coupled with very limited availability, the result has been very tight markets and increased prices.”
I’m yet to be convinced that just because Australians get paid so well, it compensates for the high price we pay for almost everything.
I’ve written before about the rise and rise of online shopping, and how if Aussies really want to snaffle up a bargain, they need to look outside our fair shores.
But it’s more than that.
After living in Melbourne for many years, it is undoubtedly a tough city to live in. Rent prices are ludicrous. There needs to come a point when the bubble bursts and prices are restored to more historically accurate numbers. Petrol prices are at record highs, though not quite at English prices. Food, alcohol, clothes, cars, public services… you name it, it all comes with an excessively high price tag.
I was warned about London being an expensive city to live in, prior to moving here, but I just don’t see it. Yes public transport prices are out of this world, but everything else seems to this scribe as rather cheap.
Regardless, one thing London has taught me is the value of £1. Sounds ridiculous, but bear with me. Britons don’t get paid so well. Despite everything seeming cheap, their pounds need to stretch a lot further than our dollars. £10 is worth so much more to a Brit, than $10 would be to an Aussie. Yes it’s actually worth to us more like $15, but even that doesn’t seem like a lot of money in Australia, when you consider something like a cd can cost upwards of $20. Think about how much five quid can get you here, compared with how much say eight dollars can get you back home. The contrast is enormous.
I feel as though I’ve finally shaken myself of that unshakable Antipodean mould that equates a single pound with a single dollar, and so £1 is actually worth a lot more than we would appreciate.
And so it is this power that I one day hope I can take back with me to the land of the free. If I can take back the idea that $10 (like £10) is actually a lot of money, rather than just seeing it as (almost) the price of a McDonald’s meal, maybe one day I can reconcile myself with living in Australia’s overpriced cities.
Image: AAP Image/Julian Smith