If you are thinking about moving or relocating to Australia calculating your expected cost of living is a key element in the decision process. Different states and territories have varied costs of living (see below for a detailed article re cost of living in Sydney and Melbourne). The main costs you need to consider are:
Rent/Home Purchase price: Rental homes in or within close proximity to the city, as well as those with good transport links, usually attract the highest rents. The same goes for house prices in those areas. Properties close to good local schools, near the beach or with good parks and local shops also attract higher prices. Rental prices vary widely between different states. To get an idea of expected rental and home purchase costs have a look at www.realestate.com.au and www.domain.com.au .
Travel Costs: If you are commuting to work a weekly travel card or electronic smart card is usually the cheapest option. Petrol prices can vary during different days of the week by as much as 10c a litre, so it is smart to fill up on a cheap day. If you intend to drive you will also want to work out insurance and expected running costs. For more info go to our Transport section.
Groceries/Food Shopping: Food and Grocery prices vary between different states and even within different suburbs in the same city. The two big supermarket chains are Woolworths and Coles, both of whom offer more competitively priced home brand products as well as weekly specials and discounts. Discount supermarket Aldi has stores around Australia and CostCo has recently opened its doors in Sydney, Canberra and Victoria.
Household Utilities: In Australia water and gas are reasonably inexpensive. Electricity costs can be high dependent on use of air conditioning, heating, drying and pool maintenance. The warmer weather tends to reduce heating costs during the winter months. There are some discount energy providers that offer competitive pricing for household utility costs.
School and Education Costs: Public schools are the cheapest option for up to Year 12. For non residents there are still associated costs in some states and territories. Private schools vary from around $2,000 a year (for a Catholic primary school) to up to $35,000 plus a year (for an independent private school). Boarding fees can bring the price up by an additional 50%. You may also want to consider additional costs, such as uniforms, books and school camps or excursions. For more information and to check public school levies in all States and Territories see our Education section.
What does it cost to live in Sydney?
By Charlotte Sherston – Director of www.aussierelocation.com
Boasting over 70 beaches, fabulous harbour views, a strong economy and a healthy employment rate, Sydney is a fabulous city to live in. However, living the dream on this side of the world is going to cost you – it was recently voted the 10th most expensive city for ex pats to live in according to Mercer’s annual Cost of Living survey. However, even the rising prices don’t seem to be deterring the 40,000 people who move here every year. If you are moving or thinking of moving and want to know what life will cost you here’s the low down:
Accommodation: This is the one that will take the biggest chunk out of your income. If you want to rent in and around the CBD in the most desirable areas – Eastern Suburbs, Lower North Shore and Inner West (all with a 30 min max commute to CBD) here’s what you can expect to pay:
Studio apartments start at $350 a week. 1 bedroom apartments start at around $450 a week but up to $750 for executive style. 2 bedroom apartments start at $550 for something very basic and closer to $850 for something smarter – or over a $1000 for executive style with water views. Good quality 2 bedroom houses start around $800. 3 bedroom apartments start upwards of around $700 for something basic. $900+ starts getting better quality. A 4 bedroom house can set you back upwards of $1200. Parking, proximity to transport and being close to the beach tends to push the prices up.
If these prices sound alarming you can heard further out west or up north or down south where housing is more affordable. Your commute may be a little longer but the prices will be a lot less. Or if you are coming alone or as a couple flat/house sharing can half your costs. Check out www.domain.com.au to get an idea of rental prices and use http://www.131500.com.au/plan-your-trip to work out how long it will take you to get to work on public transport.
Public Transport: Currently the cheapest option for regular public transport users is the Opal Card here (our Oyster Card equivalent) which will offer cheaper off peak travel, a $2.50 cap on Sundays and free travel for the rest of the week after first 8 paid trips. For more info on transport and tickets go to: http://www.131500.com.au/ Expect to pay around $3.40 at peak times and $2.36 off peak for travel within 10km, $4.20 (peak) and $2.94 (off peak) for 10-20km and $4.82 (peak) and $3.37 (off peak) for 20 -30 km distances. Opal Cards can be bought at convenience stores and newsagents and also ordered online at www.opal.com.au
Cars & Driving: Sydney can get quite congested so driving to work is not ideal and parking costs in the CBD can be high. However in such a big country, having a car or access to one is recommended to make the most of it. Petrol prices bounce around a bit between around 120.00-160.00 cents per litre. Depending on your car it will cost you between $40 - $100 to fill up your tank. Tuesday is often noted as the cheapest day to fill up with prices rising as the weekend gets closer. Try www.motormouth.com.au to find and compare cheapest prices.
Cars are more expensive here than in the UK or USA but cheaper than some countries such as Singapore. The cheapest new cars start around the $12,000 mark but sky rocket to $40,000 + for an SUV. Luxury car tax kicks in for cars costing more than $60.316. If you are looking for a prestige car but with a 2nd hand price tag, try Prestige Autos - www.prestigeautotraders.com.au If you are not sure you will need a car full time consider a car share scheme such as Go Get www.goget.com.au – quote promo code AR50 and receive $50 credit.
Domestic Travel in Australia: Try discount carriers www.jetstar.com.au and www.virginblue.com.au for cheaper ‘no frills’ fares within Australia. Register with them to get alerts for specials, sales and mid-week specials.
Utilities/Phone & Internet: Electricity Prices can be high – approximately $150 a quarter for moderate use in a 1 bedroom apartment – up to $400 for a family of 4 in a 3 bedroom house. Use of Air Con/Heating will make a big difference to your bill. Open or close windows and hang clothes out to dry instead of using the dryer. Gas costs are lower – maybe $80 -$280 on the same comparison basis. Water costs are usually covered by the owner (some pass on the water costs and these can be up to $160 a quarter depending on usage). There is no council tax or charges for a TV licence. If you want Pay TV this will cost around $50-$100 a month depending on the package you choose. Broadband Internet costs from around $70 a month – some providers such as Telstra can provide some Pay TV channels as part of the package which works well. Mobile Phone plans start at around $29 for very basic usage up to $100 for unlimited calls and larger data. If you already have a handset you can get a $5 Sim card from Aldi (www.aldi.com.au) and pay around $35 a month for unlimited local texts and calls plus 2.5 g of data – and it is on the Telstra network – a bargain!
Groceries: Woolworths and Coles are the main 2 supermarket chains -Check out www.woolworth.com.au or www.coles.com.au to compare costs of everyday groceries. A cheaper alternative is the many Aldi stores opening all over Sydney www.aldi.com.au and for bulk buying Costco has come down under too www.costco.com.au . An average family food shop for 4 people can cost around the $250- $350 mark. Convenience stores in the CBD charge a premium and should just be used for emergencies not the weekly shop.
Going Out & Entertainment: You can eat well in Sydney and spend a fortune or still get change from $10 – the trick is to avoid the tourist spots, try some of the ethnic neighbourhoods such as Haberfield and Leichhart (for Italian food) or China Town. Grab a copy of Cheap Eats from the newsagent or check out http://www.eatstreets.com.au/ for ideas. Many pubs and some restaurants offer $10/$12 meal deals on different nights of the week. Choosing a BYO (bring your own wine) restaurant will also help keep costs down.
Going to the Cinema on a regular night can cost you around $18 for an adult ticket but many chains have a cheaper night (often Tuesday) with tickets around the $10/$12 mark. Also some health funds and telephone/internet providers offer $10 movie tickets to members.
For special club nights/theatre and cultural events in Sydney and prices check out: http://www.au.timeout.com/sydney/
Remember too - much of the best stuff Sydney has to offer is free or costs very little – cliff walks high above the ocean, picnics in the park, lazing around on beaches, a wander through the Museum of Contemporary Art or a ferry ride over to Manly.
What does it cost to live in Melbourne?
Melbourne is one of the most liveable cities in the world. Regarded as the food and sporting capital of Australia with beautiful beaches, laneways pulsing with history and amazing eateries, parklands stretching out in green swathes and trams trundling from suburb to suburb it is not surprising that many who come for a visit end up wanting to stay. As with all cities, however, living the life comes at a price:
Accommodation: Most people feel safe with spending 30% of their take home pay on rent so it is worth taking this into consideration when deciding where to live. If you prefer to rent in and around the city centre or in the more expensive suburbs which are close to the city (30 minutes commute) then see below for an estimate of your rent:
Near or in the city of Melbourne an unfurnished studio apartment can rent from $350 a week. Good 1 bedroom apartments rent from $450 a week but up to $650 for executive quality. 2 bedroom apartments rent from around $500 for something very ordinary and from $650 for something nicer – the best buildings with views and facilities such as a gym and a pool can be significantly more than this.
Good quality 2 bedroom houses rent from $650pw. 3 bedroom homes rent from $700pw for something basic. $850pw will improve the quality. A 4 bedroom house can cost $1200 plus per week. Parking, proximity to transport and proximity to the beach or parks will make things more expensive.
There are plenty of places further out where rentals are less expensive but your commute will be longer. Use ww.realestate.com to explore rental prices and http://jp.ptv.vic.gov.au/ptv/XSLT_TRIP_REQUEST2?language=en to work out the time it will take you to get around on public transport.
Public Transport: the myki card is Melbourne’s ticket to travel on the city’s trains, trams and buses. One day’s travel in Zone 1 and 2 is $7.52.
For everyday costs see: http://ptv.vic.gov.au/tickets/metropolitan-myki-fares/
Cars & Driving: Parking costs in the CBD are very high and as with any city traffic jams can be one of the downsides. Petrol prices bounce around vary from 135.00-160.00 cents per litre. Depending on your car costs vary between $40 - $100 to fill up your tank. The early week is cheaper to fill up as prices rise as the weekend approaches. Use www.motormouth.com.au to find and compare cheapest prices.
Cars can be more expensive than in other countries but it is possible to buy a new car from around $12,000.A good website to find out pricing is http://www.redbook.com.au/ If you do not need a car full time consider a car share scheme such as Go Get www.goget.com.au – quote promo code AR50 and receive $50 credit. If you wish to hire a car then compare car rental prices at comparison site http://www.vroomvroomvroom.com.au/
Utilities/Phone & Internet: Electricity Prices are more expensive than other utilities – approximately $150 a quarter for moderate use in a 1 bedroom apartment to $400 plus for a family of 4 in a 3 bedroom house. If you are a heavy user of air conditioning and heating then your bill will be more expensive. Gas costs are reasonable– approximately $80 a quarter for moderate use in a 1 bedroom apartment to $300 plus for a family of 4 in a 3 bedroom house Water costs can be around $150 a quarter for a family depending on usage. There is no council tax in Australia or charges for a TV licence. If you like Pay TV this will cost in the vicinity of $50-$100 a month depending on the package you choose. Broadband Internet costs from $70 a month with some providers such as Telstra offering some Pay TV channels as part of a package. Mobile Phone plans are from $29 for very basic usage up to $100 for unlimited calls and larger data. If you already have a handset you can get a $5 Sim card from Aldi (www.aldi.com.au) and pay just $35 a month for unlimited local texts and calls plus 2.5g of data on the Telstra network.
Groceries: Woolworths and Coles are the main 2 supermarket chains -Check out www.woolworth.com.au or www.coles.com.au to compare costs of everyday groceries. A cheaper alternative are Aldi storesw ww.aldi.com.au and for bulk buying Costco has come down under too www.costco.com.au . Convenience stores in the CBD charge a premium but the markets have fantastic bargains and good quality food.
Going Out & Entertainment: There are wonderful restaurants and cafes in Melbourne that are not really expensive and by choosing the less exclusive areas it is possible to eat very well. Melbourne has so much free entertainment especially around Federation Square and you can keep yourself entertained at very little cost. Going to the Cinema can cost you around $18 for an adult ticket but many chains have a cheaper night (often Tuesday) with tickets around the $12.
The article above contains information which is the opinion of the writer and all readers should not base decisions on the article above but should do their own research independent of www.aussierelocation.com