The world’s most affordable cities: How does Brisbane stack up?

By: Jade Horrobin: March 25, 2019, Updated: March 25, 2019

This week sees the release of the 2019 Worldwide Cost of Living — a global survey comparing the price of items in 133 cities. The results see Brisbane ranked much lower than in previous years, coming in a 41st, and a similar trend was seen in the other Australian cities too. Brisbane returned a score of 78, which saw it drop 15 spots from 36th most expensive city in the world, to 41st.

The survey, compiled by The Economist Intelligence Unit, compares the cost of 160 common household items and services across 93 countries and 133 cities. In terms of the scorecard, all cities are benchmarked against New York, which is allocated a score of 100. This year, there were 6 cities that ranked as more expensive than New York: Singapore (in first place for its 6th consecutive year), Paris, Hong Kong, Zurich, Geneva and Osaka. Seoul and Copenhagen also tied with New York, all receiving a score of 100 for tied 7th place. Tel Aviv in Israel and Los Angeles round out the Top 10 most expensive cities in the world.

Similarly to Brisbane, other Australian cities also saw an increase in affordability. Perth saw the biggest improvement, dropping 18 sports to 64th. Melbourne ranked in at 22nd, still a decrease from last year’s ranking of 14th, and Adelaide also saw a fall of 21 spaces 51st on the list. Unsurprisingly, Sydney still ranks as Australia’s most expensive city, with a ranking on 16th position, still down from 10th spot in 2018.

Unfortunately, these improvements in the cost of living may not be felt by those lucky enough to live in Australia’s major cities. The Economist Intelligence Unit said in a statement that the improvements of the Australian (and New Zealand) cities are primarily due to weaker local currencies, meaning the only ones reaping the benefits are tourists and travellers.

Top 10 Most Expensive Cities 2019

  • 1st – Singapore (107)
  • 1st – Paris, France (107)
  • 1st – Hong Kong, China (107)
  • 4th – Zurich, Switzerland (106)
  • 5th – Geneva, Switzerland (101)
  • 5th – Osaka, Japan (101)
  • 7th – Seoul, South Korea (100)
  • 7th – Copenhagen, Denmark (100)
  • 7th – New York, United States (100)
  • 10th – Tel Aviv, Israel (100)
  • 10th – Los Angeles, United States (99)

Top 10 Cheapest Cities 2019

  • 133rd – Caracas, Venezuela (15)
  • 132nd – Damascus, Syria (25)
  • 131st – Tashkent, Uzbekistan (33)
  • 130th – Almaty, Kazakhstan (35)
  • 129th – Bangalore, India (39)
  • 127th – Karachi, Pakistan (40)
  • 127th – Lagos, Nigeria (40)
  • 125th – Buenos Aires, Argentina (41)
  • 125th – Chennai, India (41)
  • 123rd – New Delhi, India (43)
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