The Cost of Living in Australia

It's hard to fully explain the cost of living in Australia unless you are actually living in Australia - why? Because it's tempting to compare the cost of things with the UK and this actually gives a false impression as you have to take into consideration the fact that when you move to Australia you will be earning Australian dollars and so the cost of living is only comparable to the amount you earn.

With the current UK economic climate as it is, ex-pats living in Australia will find the cost of living much cheaper as Australia is not suffering the same economic gloom that is currently descending over the UK, in fact some departments are experiencing a boom and the Australian dollar is quite strong.

Generally speaking, salaries tend to be higher in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, an average salary for adults working in the private and public sectors is $1345pw (£907) whereas in the UK average weekly pay is £438pw. That's a huge difference, so is there a catch?

Housing

One thing you will notice about Australia is that you get a lot more for your money when it comes to housing! Right now the housing market in Australia is buoyant with houses nearer to the city being more expensive. Sydney remains the most expensive place to live in terms of housing, with median house prices in Sydney (2012) at $555,000 (£375,582) whilst Hobart is the cheapest at $350,000 (£236,853).

Food

There are many observations on the internet about the cost of food in Australia but this really does vary from area to area. In general there isn't the variety of ready-made meals available so be prepared to cook from scratch with fresh produce. This in itself can be much cheaper but it depends on how the crops are doing that season. Australia offers its own produce but if crops are ravaged by fire, flood, storms, drought or pests then they have to import and this can push the prices up enormously. For example when Queensland’s banana crop suffered from extensive storm damage recently, the cost of bananas rose from $3kg to almost $15kg in some areas!

Woolworths and Coles are the two main supermarkets and both are in competition which can be beneficial for the shopper. There are also Aldi chains however if you can, try to get to local Growers Markets where prices can be much cheaper than in supermarkets.

Utility Bills

Some utilities are far more expensive than in the UK whereas others are much cheaper. For instance electricity and as well as paying for water rates you also pay a water usage charge which is roughly half the price of your water rates. Gas however can be pretty cheap in comparison.

As well as these bills you also have individual council rates, insurance, phone charges, broadband and any satellite TV package.

Petrol

Diesel and petrol are on average much lower than in the UK. On average pence per litre in the UK is 129p whereas in the most expensive areas of Australia this is just 98p. A bargain!

To find out about the current cost of living in Australia then why not join an Australian forum such as British Expats and see what others have to say?

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