Opps… Sorry Western Australia… Perth 21st Most Expensive Place to Live.

Ever since I looked at getting my Permanent Residency Visa to live and work in Australia, I had made one important restriction on the locations of Australia I would consider living in and not living in for a variety of reasons.  One such place I had considered a place I did not want to live was Perth, Western Australia.

Reason: I had spoken to several people in the UK, watched several television programs, read lots of websites  and this City was considered the primary destination for those wishing to emigrate from the UK and until a few days ago, I considered it one of the most expensive places to live in the world, let alone in Australasia!

I recently had a conversation with one of my colleagues about Perth, and albeit being one place I would like to visit, I would not want to live there, and made a point about how expensive it is.

Shortly after this conversation I came across an article posted by The Western Australian online newspaper, that Perth had just been named the 21st Most Expensive City to Live in the world, whilst Sydney being the city I had chosen to make my home (for now) lies 5th in the world.

Thankfully, the area I am considering buying my home in Australia when I have been here for a while.  Brisbane, Queensland has also been named 21st on the list, so there is some hope.  But I wanted to pass my sincere apologies to Western Australia for completely discounting that city from my list of possibilities.

However, one thing I wanted, when I was considering making Australia my new home, is that I wanted to come to Australia for the Australians, not live in an area that almost had the number of British people that is in the UK.  I need to do some more research and see what percentage there is, and I will update this article with some figures, but thought you would appreciate some information from the article I read about Perth.

Edit March 07, 2014:

As promised.  I have done some further research and found this information on emigrating to Australia and where British ex-patriots consider living in Australia when they do.

According to research published by the UK Home Office shows that in 2011, 149,000 British citizens left the UK with the intention of spending at least a year in another country.  Most were of working age and the majority were leaving to take up a position they had already been offered (much like me), or to seek work.

The International Passenger Survey (IPS) which tracks migration from the UK and the reasons for it, shows that throughout 2010-2011 more than 50,000 UK Emigrants were leaving for a definite job, and about 30,000 more were in search of employment.  Some were moving to be with family members, some said they were off to study, and other may have been retiring abroad.  The IPS looks at people going overseas for at least 12 months, so doesn’t include those who choose to spend half their year abroad and half in the UK.

The number of people leaving the UK has been falling – in the first few years of the 21st century it was close to 200,000 per year and peaked to 207,000 in 2006.  This dropped to 136,000 in 2010.

Despite this, the most popular destinations have not changed much over the past 20 years, although there has been some ebb and flow near the top.  Over that period Australia has always attracted the highest number of those taking flight from the UK, and the number has been steadily growing – from 48,000 in 1991/92 to 64,000 in 2009/10.

Top 10 destinations for UK expats*

Australia 1,062,000 (251,000)
USA 829,000 (140,000)
Spain 808,000 (104,000)
Canada 608,000 (157,000)
Ireland 289,000 (126,000)
France 253,000 (57,000)
New Zealand 248,000 (54,000)
South Africa 219,000 (38,000)
Germany 97,000 (39,000)
UAE 65,000 (680)

*Table shows numbers of expats in each country, and in brackets the number of pensioners

Reference: The Guardian

In the bleak of January/February weather and still the prospects of an unsettling year economically, many of UK’s residents are considering a move to warmer climates and some have already done it (me included) and considering Australia as the place to set down roots.

In 2013 23,000 Britons made the move and emigrated to Australia.  If you are considering the move to pastures new, here is a brief guide to where British expats are living in Australia.

Believe it or not, Sydney is not the number one choice for British migrants, rather Perth in Western Australia is.  It attracted over 7,000 professionals last year who went straight into employment.  Whilst it would be naive of us to imagine that Australia is weathering the effects of the Global Economy Crisis without so much of a hint of an effect, it is fair to say then that Perth is still doing alright.  Yes the Australian housing market as a whole has taken a hammering with median prices in some cities receding fast, but in a city like Perth, there are underlying fundamentals supporting ongoing advancement.

Despite the fact that house prices in Perth have doubled in less than 6 years thanks to the boom the city has witnessed, prices are now dropping and real estate in Perth remains more affordable than the median in the UK – meaning if you do move to Australia, you will not only stand a good chance of finding a job in Perth, but you may very well get far more for your money than if you remained in the UK.

Brisbane in Queensland was second on the list of most popular locations for relocating Britons in 2013, attracting almost 6,000.  The city and the Gold Coast were attractive to those seeking employment or a great place to retire.

Third on the list of places popular for British expats to live is Sydney, attracting almost 4,000 to move in 2013.  What’s not to love about this stunning and iconic city.  It is an unbeatable destination if you want style, sophistication, culture, fantastic restaurants, access to great beaches and the chance to work for some of the leading employers in Australia.  However, for some who move there, Sydney is perhaps overrated.  It myself have only moved to Sydney as part of my job and have every intention to move away to another area (possibly considering Queensland).

The city is cramped in terms of space, it is a city where an intensification of population density has led to a more impersonal vibe, and where, if you’re not living on the water front or in view of open space, you can feel very hemmed in and lost – as though you’re living in any city in any country in the world.  Property prices in Sydney are the highest in the whole of Australia and with the prices of food and amenities, makes it a very expensive place to live.  I would suggest Renting rather than buying if you are considering the move to Sydney and make the decision for yourself if you wish to live here permanently.

With every boom, they often go bust and Brisbane’s booming property market is certainly showing signs of stress.  If you sell up your property in the UK while you are waiting on your Australian Visa, by that time, Brisbane’s property market may well have hit rock bottom and you may be able to grab yourself a bargain.  It is definitely something I am considering.

Reference: Shelter Off Shore

The decline of the Australian dollar means that by the EIU ratings, Australian cities in 2014 offer better value for money to visitors.

Brisbane and Perth rank joint 21st, and Adelaide in 37th place offers the best value for money in Australasia, according to the study, which includes more than 400 individual prices.

That is because inflation and currency appreciation in neighbouring New Zealand mean Auckland (17th) and Wellington (19th) are more expensive than most Australian cities.

“The long-term rise of the Australian dollar, which has doubled in value in the last decade, has fallen back lately, with a corresponding decline in relative prices,” report editor Jon Copestake said.

“But cities like Melbourne and Sydney now appear to have cemented their position among the most expensive across Europe and Asia.”

The latest rankings have unseated Tokyo as the world’s most expensive city, thanks to the declining value of the yen.

Asia and Australasia account for four of the 10 most expensive cities, as well as four of the cheapest.

Europe is home to half of the 10 most expensive cities, while New York has reclaimed its position as the most expensive city in North America thanks to declines in the Canadian city of Vancouver…

1. Singapore
2. Paris
3. Oslo
4. Zurich
5. Sydney
6. Venezuela
6. Geneva
6. Melbourne
6. Tokyo
10. Copenhagen

1. Singapore
5. Sydney
6. Melbourne
6. Tokyo
13. Hong Kong
14. Osaka
15. South Korea
17. Auckland
19. Wellington
21. Brisbane
21. Perth
21. Shanghai
30. Noumea
37. Adelaide

Reference: Western Australian