While city dwellers and expats alike enjoy complaining about how much a coffee costs in Sydney, an exercise in crowdsourcing shows the city is cheap when compared with rivals including New York, Paris, London and Singapore.
Sydney a 'cheap' international city
It might be the most expensive city in the nation yet the Harbour City is ranked as the 11th-priciest city in world. Nine News.
Sydney is the 11th-priciest city in the world and 25 per cent cheaper than first-placed London, based on groceries, electronics, rent and other everyday items, according to expatistan.com.
The website sources information from almost 200,000 users to calculate the average price of drinks, food and accommodation, claiming to cover 1600 cities around the world. While the data is, by definition, movable and the website FAQs leave it to users to fix figures that are wrong - it relies on daily input from its users - the founder of the site, Gerardo Robledillo, claims a degree of fidelity.
''The index is updated every time that a user enters a new price for any city,'' he said. ''As a reference, we get between 500 and 1000 new prices every day.''
Priyanka Bhatia, 28, a lawyer from Kenya, attended university in London and has recently moved to Sydney. She said Sydney's supermarket items, especially meat and seafood, cost more compared with her home town of Nairobi, where she could buy freshly caught parrotfish or kingfish for less than one Australian dollar.
''In London, comparing rentals, surprisingly I found Sydney a little bit more expensive,'' she said. ''I was paying £1100 [$2017] a month in central London. In Pyrmont now, we're paying $700 a week.''
Ms Bhatia used to convert Australian prices into British pounds and Kenyan shillings but does not any more.
''I feel like it's quite upsetting to do that, especially coming from Kenya, so I stopped doing the conversions,'' she said. ''I guess the salaries here are a lot higher so it balances out.''
Australian Patrick O'Meara, 28, has lived in San Francisco, Colombia and Tokyo and misses the cheap price of concerts and entertainment when he returns to his homeland.
''It was a shock when I first got over there [San Francisco] but now it's a shock to come back,'' he said. ''Once you pay for taxis and go to a few bars, you could spend $200 easily.''
Digital marketing associate Beth Nelan, 23, said her quality of life was better in Sydney as she pays the same amount of rent in Washington but has taken a $17,000 pay cut.
''Sydney is expensive but I feel it is entirely justified,'' she said. ''Comparatively, cost of living in Vancouver and [Washington] DC is pretty justifiable … but rent is way too high for the average income.''
Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens wants to see the value of the Australian dollar fall further, which would make the price of petrol and other imported products rise, said Stephen Halmarick, head of economic and market research at Colonial First State Global Asset Management. ''People who are exporting overseas [will] benefit from the weaker dollar and that will increase national income.
''It's really a bit of a transfer of costs and benefits across the economy. It's all part of a transition of the economy away from being dominated by mining capital spending to other sources of growth.''