Melbourne has once again been crowned the World’s Most Liveable City by the Economic Intelligence Unit (‘EIU’). In its 2011 Global Liveability Survey, the EIU gave the Victorian Capital an impressive score of 97.5 per cent. Factors such as infrastructure, low crime rate, and culture were taken into consideration. Melbourne’s high position in liveability rankings has cemented its status as one of the most popular destinations for interstate and international immigrants, making it a great location for long-term property investment.
Criteria for Assessment
The biannual survey of 140 cities around the world is based on various liveability factors. Vienna and Vancouver rounded off the top three followed by Toronto, Calgary, Sydney, Helsinki, Perth, Adelaide, and Auckland. The three other Australian capitals included in the top ten were Sydney, at sixth place, and Perth and Adelaide, at joint eighth place. Last year’s number one (and the holder of the number one title for the past decade) Vancouver lost out to Melbourne on the basis of a lower score for infrastructure and increased congestion.
Melbourne enyoys world-class consumer and commercial infrastructure, with a combination of road, rail, and marine transport infrastructure. The Victorian government has often prioritised infrastructure development, investing around $4 billion dollars between 2008 and 2009 alone. Melbourne Airport is a curfew-free airport, located only 20 minutes from the CBD.
Investment property capital growth and rental yields tend to be higher in metropolitan growth areas with solid infrastructure. They also tend to be high in areas where population growth is met by investment in public infrastructure. In the rankings, infrastructure is defined to also include energy and water access for residents.
Cities that do well in the EIU’s rankings tend to be medium-sized cities in prosperous countries with low to medium population density. The EIU’s rankings take into account the availability of quality housing in the surveyed cities.
Other criteria that are taken into account include the following.
- Crime Rates and Political and Social Stability. Australian cities tend to have excellent political and social stability compared with many other cities included in the survey. Crime rates are relatively low.
- Access to Health Care. Australia’s health care system is cheap and comprehensive by world standards.
- Culture, the Natural Environment, and Education. The EIU survey also scores cities on culture, the natural environment, and educational quality and availability. The Victorian capital is home to a diverse range of cultural facilities and sporting events.
Jon Copestake, the survey editor, stated that Australian cities remained high in the rankings partly due to low popular density and crime rates. Even after accounting for the rising cost of living caused by the high Australian dollar, Australian cities (led by Melbourne) remained very liveable destinations.
The editor commented that while global metropolises such as London, Paris, and New York were popular destinations for expatriates and travellers, this has led to an overburdening of those cities’ infrastructure and facilities.
Australian cities also performed well in Mercer’s 2009 city infrastructure rankings. While Melbourne was ranked first for infrastructure in that survey, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth each scored very well on electricity, water, communication, transport, traffic congestion and airport accessibility.