NZ cities more affordable

A fall in the value of the New Zealand dollar has made Auckland and Wellington much cheaper places to live for expatriates working for multinational organisations.

Mercer’s worldwide cost of living survey, carried out in March and published today, showed the two New Zealand cities had close to the lowest cost of living out of 143 cities covered.

Auckland was in 138th place, from 78th a year earlier, with a cost of living index of 54 compared to 81 in March 2008. The index is based on a figure of 100 for New York. Wellington is one place lower at 139, from 93 a year earlier, and with an index figure of 52.3, down from 77.6 in 2008.

Rob Knox of Mercer said the New Zealand cities were “extremely” cost competitive across the Asia Pacific region for global workers, in comparison with places such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Osaka, which all climbed the rankings this year.

“This helps make New Zealand a very attractive hub for companies looking to grow their presence in the Asia Pacific region,” he said. The cost of living of New Zealand cities benefited from a fall in the value of the NZ dollar, which at the end of March had depreciated by more than 33 percent against the US dollar from a year earlier.

Also in this country’s favour, Mercer’s quality of living survey published in April ranked Auckland 4th in the world and Wellington 12th. Mr Knox said organisations needed to take the quality of living standards into consideration to establish the true “value of living” of a particular location.

In Australia, Sydney remains the most expensive city for expatriates, but dropped from 15th to 66th place with a score of 75.5 points.

Melbourne was down to 92nd with 69.9 points from 36th, Brisbane fell to 116th with 65.3 points from 57th, Perth fell to 117th with 65.2 points from 53rd, while Adelaide fell to 130th with 61.3 points from 73rd. Overall, Tokyo knocked Moscow off the top spot to become the world’s most expensive city for expatriates.

Tokyo with 143.7 points rose from second place in 2008, while second placed Osaka was up from 11th place with 119.2 points. Moscow fell to third with 115.4 points.

The most expensive European Union city is Copenhagen, Denmark unchanged from 7th place last year with 105 points, while New York is the most expensive city in the United States moving up to eighth place from 22nd.

Bottom of the list is Johannesburg with 49.6 points. The survey measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.