Think living in Australia is unaffordable? It’s not as bad for this group, a new report says

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun4,2024
Key Points
  • A global index analysing the cost of moving to various cities around the world for work has released its 2024 report.
  • While no Australian cities ranked in the top 50 most expensive for expats, three made it into the top 100.
  • The cost of housing is a major factor in ranking cities’ affordability.
Australia is experiencing one of its worst cost of living crises in decades, but for those sent from overseas for work, it’s still relatively affordable.
A global index that looks at the costs of taking a job overseas has again ranked Hong Kong, Singapore and Zurich as the most expensive cities.
Australian cities entered the top 100 with Sydney at 58. Melbourne followed at 73rd place, with Brisbane at 89 when it came to living costs for an international worker.
Out of the 226 cities listed, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth were listed at 106, 107 and 109 respectively.

The two most affordable cities for expats were both in Nigeria: Lagos (225) and Abuja (226).

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What do the rankings assess?

Mercer compiles its annual Cost of Living City Ranking to help multinational employers plan compensation packages for workers they send overseas, called ‘international assignees’.
It compares the costs of over 200 items in each location, including housing and transportation, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Mercer — a professional services group — says the report helps understand the strain on employers paying for workers to relocate amid global rising housing costs and volatile inflation trends.

The report found these factors can limit global mobility and make it difficult for employers to attract and retain top talent.

The index assesses the issues from a business perspective, meaning it doesn’t consider the cost of living for people who migrate for other reasons or are seeking asylum, or people already living in the ranked cities.

Australian cities are ‘impossibly unaffordable’ for residents

The cost of housing is a major factor in ranking cities’ affordability, which Mercer says is increased by housing unavailability.

In Australia, housing affordability is currently at crisis levels with rental vacancies at an all-time low.

A housing unaffordability report recently categorised Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide as ‘impossibly unaffordable’ — a new category created to capture the extent of the crisis.
The Chapman University Frontier Centre for Public Policy’s Demographia International Housing Affordability report compared median incomes to median house prices and found that, across the world, only the United States had more cities that ranked worse.

With additional reporting from the Australian Associated Press.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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