Don’t forget to look beyond the headlines, though!
Six of the world's 30 most pricey cities for expats are in Australia, a survey has found. Sydney has claimed the title of Australia's most expensive city for expatriates, narrowly missing the top 10 globally but coming in 11th in the latest Mercer cost-of-living survey.
The home of the Opera House was followed closely by Melbourne at 15th most expensive and Perth sneaking in the top 20 at 19th.
All rose from their ranking the previous year, with Perth climbing 11 spots from number 30.Mercer principal Nathalie Constantin-Metral said Australian cities had experienced some of the biggest jumps as the Aussie dollar strengthened against its US counterpart.
"Demand for rental properties has also increased significantly in all the Australian cities we rank,'' she said in a statement.
"Coupled with very limited availability, the result has been very tight markets and increased prices.'' The survey took place in March when the Australian dollar hovered above parity with the greenback.
Sure, we know that Australia is expensive - nothing new there! - and some of our housing stock is seeing some easing in values, but sometimes these ‘affordability’ articles are actually in part a discussion of exchange rate movements – rather than actually being about affordability.
OK, so the strengthening of the Aussie dollar might be a nasty surprise for returning expats, but this is not quite the same discussion.
That’s not to say that affordability isn’t an issue in some areas, but one welcome consequence of the low inflation prints, weak retail figures and global uncertainty has been the affordability dividend delivered by the slashing of the cash rate from 4.75% to 3.50%.
There are some very competitive mortgage rates coming to the fore too. Variable mortgages at under 5.75%; nice work if you can get it.
I’ve only been back in Australia a week after an extended period of time travelling and it was absolutely fantastic to take a walk around Circular Quay and Darling Harbour yesterday.
It always amazes me to hear how much Sydneysiders criticise their own city!
As I mentioned in my blog post the other day, I was lucky enough to travel to 25 countries over the past year, which was an amazing experience, but I can tell you there is no better place to live (in my wildly biased opinion...) than Sydney.
Perhaps sometimes we shouldn’t be quite so surprised when Sydney and Melbourne are cited as among the 15 costliest world cities in which to live? Always causes some debate this one...
A pro-Euro win at the Greek election saw some bounce back into stocks today, the Aussie All Ords up more than 1.75% as I write this.
Also notable is that despite four interest rate cuts (one of which was a ‘double’ cut of 50bps or 0.50%) the Aussie dollar has snuck back above 101 cents today as a little confidence returns.
I discussed the reasons for the dollar’s resilience and the likely outcomes going forward in my post here.