An expensive Sydney seen as good

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Sydney has been labelled the third most expensive city on Earth, behind Tokyo and Osaka, according to a 2013 worldwide cost of living index, but some say this could actually be a good sign.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s worldwide cost of living index 2013 found that Sydney wine and petrol prices have tripled in the last 10 years, bread has more than doubled and cigarette prices have nearly quadrupled.

Intelligent Finance managing director and life-long Sydney resident Justin Doobov said the city’s ranking is hardly a surprise.

“If you look at most other countries, they’ve got massive job losses and the average person is really struggling … While the cost of living here has gone up, it shows we’ve got a more buoyant economy and Australians still have the ability to consume, as opposed to other countries where prices have dropped.”

Doobov added that he hasn’t personally noticed any dramatic prices changes, other than in the local property market.

“Anything that’s imported [apart from petrol] seems to have dropped in price in the last 10 years. Things that need on-shore labour, such as restaurants and the cost of eating out, housing costs, anything that uses Australian labour has increased in price.”

Fellow lifetime Sydney resident Smartline mortgage broker Kim Wight agreed, but said she was surprised that her home-town came third in the world.

“I would have thought places like New York or London would have been before us. I would have thought we’d be up there, but not third.”

Wight said she had noticed her living costs increase, but said it was more to do with lifestyle changes than the cost of goods and services.

“I think [living costs are high] because we expect a high standard of living. You can’t compare us to other areas of the Asia Pacific because the way we want to live is very different. We expect to have an investment property and holidays and two cars. My clients aren’t happy with just owning a home… they want to buy an investment property.”

She added that the study should have taken into account Sydney’s higher wages, which may compensate somewhat for the higher cost of living. 

Melbourne was ranked the fifth most expensive city in the world.

Feeling bogged down by city prices? What's your take on Sydney and Melbourne's rankings in the top 10 most expensive cities? Submit your thoughts in our comments section below...

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