Auckland now even cheaper than its international rivals

July 29, 2009

The cost of living in Auckland is cheap compared with major cities measured in a global survey. Out of the 143 cities measured by consultancy firm Mercer, Auckland placed 138th, down from 78th in 2008. Mercer's 2009 Worldwide Cost of Living survey compares the cost of housing, transport, food and other goods, and is used an indicator for compensation for companies who send their employees abroad. Mercer spokesman Rob Knox said the depreciation of the New Zealand dollar against the US dollar in the past 12 months had made Auckland more affordable and attractive for multinational businesses to send workers. "New Zealand cities were extremely cost competitive destinations for global workers compared to cities such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Osaka, which all climbed in the rankings this year," he said. "This helps makes New Zealand a very attractive hub for companies looking to grow their presence in the Asia Pacific region." Despite the fall in living costs, Auckland was measured as having a high quality of life in the survey for expats. It placed fourth in quality of life rankings. The survey also revealed that the differences in the cost of living between Auckland and Wellington, which placed 139th, had narrowed. Consumer Price Index trends in the two cities echoed this shrinking margin. Fluctuations in worldwide exchange markets during the economic downturn saw major reshuffles in the rankings. Most European cities became more affordable for expatriate workers, and Australasian cities also plummeted in the rankings. Cities in the United States, China, Japan and the Middle East all became less affordable in 2009. The survey, the largest of its kind, covered cities in six continents and measured the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location. COSTLY CITIES1 Tokyo, Japan.2 Osaka, Japan.3 Moscow, Russia.4 Geneva, Switzerland.5 Hong Kong, Hong Kong.16 London, England.66 Sydney, Australia.138 Auckland, New Zealand.139 Wellington, New Zealand.