I was interested to read a recent Sydney Morning Herald article that bemoaned the cost of living in Sydney – the ‘Emerald city’ was recently voted the 11th most expensive city in the world.
So much so that the author of the SMH article had joined an apparent exodus of ‘economic refugees’ to live in the bargain basement city that is New York.
To be honest, I wasn’t surprised. To my mind (and wallet) the cost of living in Sydney has been stealthily increasing over a number of years to the point now where it feels like a meltdown waiting to happen.
Property prices are of course a major contributor. Quite how anyone looking to get into the market nowadays has any chance of doing so is beyond me. There seems to be no relationship whatsoever between average wages and average property prices any more.
Now, I’m no economist, but this seems unsustainable.
Then of course, there is the Aussie-dollar-on-steroids, currently performing at levels not seen for a generation.
Great news for Aussies holidaying (or in my case, moving) overseas, but not so great for exporters, retailers or indeed anyone trying to do business with even the slightest ambition to compete beyond the coastline of Australia.
Also not so good for the average Australian trying to stretch out the household budget as costs go up all around them.
In the past, whenever I travelled to the UK on holiday, I was struck by just how expensive it all was, thankfully returning to the relative economic sanctuary of Australia at the end of my trip.
But that is no more. Last year’s trip back was a pleasant surprise and now that I have returned for good, I am discovering just how much cheaper the cost of living seems to be over here.
Although I can’t pretend to have carried out a detailed side-by-side comparison, my general perception is that everything from property to cars to groceries to travel seems to be much less expensive in the UK, even allowing for the exchange rate.
It is true that most Brits I talk to about the subject look at me increduously when I say that I find the cost of living fairly reasonable in the UK.
But then again, they haven’t lived in Sydney.