Perth is expensive, damn expensive. But here’s the truth – it should be.
To be honest, I love a good ‘I just paid one year’s wage for an espresso, Perth’s so expensive, the sky is falling’ rant as much as the next guy. But before we sharpen the pitchforks and storm the Bastille, let’s order a side of perspective with that dinner for two you took out a second mortgage for.
Instead of telling everyone you bought a macchiato on Chapel Street for $2.60 (bet it was a single shot with a dash of milk, wasn’t it?) as proof of Perth’s priciness, lets instead look at the idea of living here as a commodity – as something you’re buying.
Thinking of life in Perth that way, you start to look at the question of whether Perth is too expensive as a value proposition. For starters, if Perth was a product, it’d be a luxury good. We’re the Prada or Ferrari of places to live. It’s not just weather and beaches. What about the other things that make it a place to live, not just the cost of your coffee?
If you’re a person who ever needs access to healthcare, wants a job, might start a business or raise a family, likes the great outdoors, and multiculturalism, and enjoys a lack of armed conflict, dictatorial rule or social unrest, as a package deal where’s better than Perth?
Or put another way, isn’t Perth the most attractive product on the market?
If you’ve travelled or lived elsewhere, how we stack up compared to other places around the country or overseas really puts Perth (and being a citizen here) in a very enviable league. Perth is routinely listed as one of the world’s most liveable/best cities. Why would we think that desirability would come without the price tag – a cost reflective of our exclusivity, our cachet?
I could tell you about high-cost environments, the expense of isolation, transport costs and the other arguments brought out to justify why living here, eating here and drinking here tends to be more pricey than other places. I argue that instead of the question being ‘Is it too expensive to live here?’, it should be ‘Is Perth value for money?’.
To answer that question, I look around and see my friends’ and family’s quality of life, and I say, unequivocally, it is. So yes, we all wish things were more affordable, and yes, the good old days of affordable living seem to be behind us, but if you’re looking at your $38 pint of Asahi and moaning that it’s half full, maybe stop and be thankful you’re one of the blessed few who get to enjoy it at all, in the middle of paradise...