Sydney is much less expensive for expats than it has been in the past, ranked number 57 in the world, according to a global cost of living survey.

This is down from last year's 38th spot and the previous year's 17th position. And within the Asia Pacific region Sydney is the 30th most expensive location, the latest survey from ECA International shows.

sydney australia

Sydney now ranks as the 57th most expensive city for expats worldwide, down from 38th last year​

The 2015 rankings, compiled by the firm which provides information for firms with employees around the world, puts Canberra 63rd, Melbourne at 68, Perth at 74, Adelaide at 77, Brisbane at 78 and Darwin at 80.

'With prices in ECA's shopping basket increasing at a slower rate than a year ago and the Australian dollar weakening against a number of major currencies as growth slows, the country has become more affordable for many companies relocating staff,' said Anna Michielsen, general manager for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific for ECA International.

'However, the cost to many Australian businesses of sending employees on international assignment will have gone up as they find themselves having to increase allowances to ensure their staff's purchasing power is maintained while they are away,' she added.

The surveys compare a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by expats in over 440 locations worldwide. Certain living costs, such as accommodation rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees are usually covered by separate allowances. Data for these costs are collected separately and are not included in ECA's cost of living basket.

In the same region Auckland, New Zealand at 44, overtook Sydney in the list a year ago and this year Wellington at 49 and Christchurch at 56 have done the same. A stronger New Zealand dollar and prices of items in ECA's shopping basket rising faster in New Zealand than Australia have, on average, contributed to this.

Overall Shanghai has become Asia Pacific's most expensive location for expats for the first time. Globally, the Chinese city has moved into the top 10 to eighth position, up from last year's 18th spot. Goods and services in ECA's shopping basket for Shanghai are 30% more expensive than Sydney compared with 12% a year ago.

'Our ranking is based on an international spending pattern for comparison purposes. However, a Chinese person buying local products is likely to find the city a lot cheaper and may find other cities to be more expensive for them. In this case they will require an allowance to ensure their spending power is maintained on assignment,' Michielsen explained.

Shanghai is just ahead of Beijing at nine while Tokyo, which topped the Asia Pacific ranking a year ago, has dropped to seventh regionally and 16th globally. Seoul, the region's second highest location a year ago has slipped to third spot although globally it has risen six places to rank tenth.

Hong Kong, Asia Pacific's fourth most expensive location for expats, has entered the top 15 leaping up from last year's 29th position to 12th place. With the US dollar, to which the HK dollar is pegged, having strengthened against a number of currencies over the past year, the SAR has become more expensive for many businesses sending assignees there.