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Canberra a 'sweet spot' for expanding companies, Mercer Cost of Living survey shows

by June 22, 2016 General
Canberra has been ranked the 98th most expensive city in the world for expats to live in.

Canberra has been ranked the 98th most expensive city in the world for expats to live in. Photo: Rohan Thomson

The fall of the Australian dollar over the past year coupled with the city’s rising quality of living could see Canberra attract companies looking to set up regional headquarters in the Asia Pacific, a survey for expatriate workers has revealed

Canberra has eased 33 places to become the 98th most expensive city in the world for expats to live in according to the Cost of Living survey by global human resources company Mercer.

Only beaten by Adelaide out of the Australian capital cities, Mercer’s Talent business leader Garry Adams said Canberra has emerged as a “sweet spot” between decent prices and a high standard of living.

“It’s playing to a sweet spot in many ways that Australian cities also have high quality of living and now that the cost of living is becoming more competitive from a global perspective it makes it an even more attractive location to do business,” Mr Adams said.

The biannual survey benchmarks more than 200 cities with a “broad basket” of daily living costs to help calculate remuneration packages for expatriate workers.

Sydney ranked most expensive out of the Australian capitals (42), followed by Perth (69), Melbourne (71), Brisbane (96), Canberra (98) and Adelaide (102).

Five of the top 10 most expensive cities for expats were in Asia, which meant Australian cities could be more cost-effective to send workers on assignment in the Asia-Pacific region to, Mr Adams said.

“For many global organisations when they’re looking at setting up a regional headquarters in the Asia-Pacific region or looking at where they house functions in this part of the world, cost and quality of living are a good consideration and by-and-large for a regional headquarters, often Sydney and Melbourne in particular compete with Hong Kong and Shanghai as potential places where you could have a regional headquarters,” Mr Adams said.

Now that the Aussie dollar is closer to its long-term trading range, Mr Adams expected Australian cities to be back in a position where they could compete “much more effectively” as a place to do business.

“We had a couple of years where we were well above the US dollar which was atypical from a historical perspective but also made it very difficult for Australian industries to compete,” Mr Adams said.

“Now that our dollar is back at a more normal trading range our relative costs are much more competitive form a global perspective.”

The most expensive cities for expats in the world, according to Mercer

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Luanda
  3. Zurich
  4. Singapore
  5. Tokyo
  6. Kinshasa
  7. Shanghai
  8. Geneva
  9. Ndjamena
  10. Beijing