On Moving

Okay, so we have a 5 year plan to move out of the US.
We have a few main points of looking at so far…
Wellington, New Zealand. I would prefer somewhere along the Kapiti Coast if I could get a job there as well since it is so far from Wellington’s CBD, but still part of the Wellington Region.
Vancouver, Canada. Not sure where specifically to look at here. I was thinking North Vancouver, but that really depends on the job location.
To that list I keep thinking of adding Melbourne, Australia. A rather large number of New Zealanders move to Australia, as it offers better opportunities. My biggest problem with Australia is the critters… and the fact that New Zealand seems to offer a much nicer landscape. Migration losses to Australia are a bit disconcerting. Just like New Zealand, we would be one of the few US ex-pats.
It doesn’t seem US citizens move to Australia/New Zealand. I am guessing Canada to be the largest destination. I don’t think it is a question of distance, as UK ex-pats seem to make up the bulk of the two counties immigrants. Then again, distance is probably the main reason Vancouver is potentially higher on the list for us.
Vancouver is #1 on the Economist’s magazine’s Most Livable Cities. Melbourne is in second on that list. I am not sure where Wellington finished at on that list. No US cities finish in the top 10. Mercer’s Quality of Life Survey put’s Vancouver at 4th, Wellington at 12th, Melbourne at 17th… The top US city on that list is Honolulu at 28th with San Francisco at 29th… The Mercer list give’s New York 100 points and ranks from there (New York is in 49th).
Of course housing is the biggest problem in all 3 cases. Housing in New Zealand is insanely expensive, as in a house that cost perhaps $100,000 locally would go for well over $300,000 USD there. Housing in Vancouver is also insane. Both markets make the Phoenix, Arizona market look tame in comparison.
I haven’t really looked at housing in the Melbourne area. I saw a really nice house, that would locally go for perhaps the high $100s, very low $200s here, go for $463,000 USD (top asking price) and that was a very nice house somewhat close to downtown. I saw another nice house for $315,000 USD, which probably would go for the low $100s locally. I saw yet another nice house for a tad under $236,000 USD a bit further outside of the CBD, which would also sell for the low $100s locally, perhaps a bit under that.
Demographia International’s Housing Affordability Index puts Vancouver as the 15th least affordable city, Melbourne at 22nd and Wellington at 46th (technically 50th since the list is the top 50, but there are lots of ties). Compare those to Canton, Ohio which ranks 23rd on the most affordable housing markets… (Youngstown ranks #2, just a tad behind Thunder Bay, Canada.) Which just goes to show that while cost of living is more expensive, that part pans out with the greater pay, the part that doesn’t pan out is housing, which the cost of living calculators don’t really seem to consider properly, they count it, but don’t seem to count it the way it actually should, since housing itself is 3x as expensive in those locations as here.
So that is the status with the moving plans. My personal order: Wellington, Vancouver then Melbourne, then Baltimore (or more like between DC and Baltimore) and then Arizona (Prescott then a Phoenix suburb). If it wasn’t for the critters in Australia it probably would be Wellington and Melbourne nearly tied, with a large gap to Vancouver, and then another gap (size of that gap depends on the results of the elections this November) to the rest of the list.

One thought on “On Moving”

  1. Brian,
    as I am from Vancouver, you probably guess which destination I’d reccommend to you ;o)
    Few reasons to consider…It is the closest alternative to your current destination-that is a pro when visiting family or friends.
    After all, the innings last only four years, after that, maybe you’d like to come back and here we are back concernicng distance..
    Next one, Canada is a beautiful country and Vancouver a great city-your researches only proves it. 2010 Olympics will be a definitely the spectacular experience.
    I admit that the prices are a bit higher here, but you’ll get definitely the best quality for your money.
    I’m really curious how you will decide, bye for now!

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