Best Cities In the World
The Economist recently released its new livability scale report. This study compares 140 cities across the world and ranks them based on factors such as political stability, healthcare, safety, and educational resources. Canadian and Australian cities dominated the top 5 spots for having the best koala-ty of life! 😀 Below are the top five cities in the list.
- Melbourne, Australia
- Vienna, Austria
- Vancouver, Canada
- Toronto, Canada
- Calgary, Canada and Adelaide, Australia
Similarities Between Canada and Australia
This is probably not a big surprise as both countries have a lot in common. We both export boat loads of natural resources. We have low population density and most people live in small to medium sized cities. Our economies are similar as well with national GDP in the $1.5 to $2.0 trillion range.
Even our currencies are roughly the same in value. $1 CAD currently trades for about $1.04 AUD, lol. The stock market returns between the Canadian TSX Composite index and the Australian S&P All Ordinaries index (XAO) over the past 5 years are practically identical. Both stock markets returned about 18% since August 2010.
I’m not sure if it’s even necessary for Canadians to buy Australian stocks for diversification purposes, and vice-versa, because it might not make any difference in the long run. 😕
High Standard of Living Comes at a Cost
With all the similarities between the two countries, it’s no wonder we rank similar in the list of best places to live. 😀 Real estate is expensive in many parts of both countries but it makes sense for people to pay a premium to live in the best locations in the world. Some Canadians believe real estate in Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary are over priced. But we’re pretty fairly valued relative to Australian prices.
In Melbourne, Australia, which ranked number 1 as the most livable city, the average house price was $590,000 in 2014. This was up 8.5% from the previous year. But interest rates are higher in Australia than in Canada. Right now a Canadian mortgage is about 2.5%, but a mortgage in Australia costs about 5%. If Canadian mortgage rates doubled to 5% then I’m pretty sure Vancouver’s average house price would drop like a rock. If Australia mortgage rates were cut in half, then the average house in Melbourne would probably cost more than $1,000,000. So if we correct for the cost of borrowing then Canadian real estate prices are actually on par with Australia’s. Of course one could say that both country’s real estate prices are overvalued. This may be true, but so is just about every other country’s. And since we all have to live somewhere, when everything is overvalued, nothing is. 😉
Random Useless Fact
Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister of Australia, has 546K followers on Twitter. Stephen Harper, the PM of Canada, has 871K followers.