Cost of Living in Australia

Australia vs the UK

Many expats choose to move to Australia because it offers great quality of life, but of course all that is dependent on how much money you have to spend when you’re there.

So when it comes to Australia, what is the cost of living? Will you be able to afford all the advantages you enjoy at home? Here we endeavour to answer those key questions so you can move Down Under with peace of mind.

Sterling vs Australian dollar

Anyone who has visited Australia in recent years with their British pounds will likely have found the country very expensive. In fact, it is the main complaint of international travellers holidaying Down Under, by the time they add up transport costs, food and accommodation they can find their holiday budget all-but gone.

However, when it comes to living in the country, earning in the local currency has to be taken into account. Yes, Australia is an expensive country and yes, for many things (but certainly not all) you will pay a higher price than at home, but you could also have a job that pays you a higher wage in Australian dollars too, so keep that in mind when doing a direct price comparison.

Also, in recent years Australia’s economy has been extremely strong, with a strong currency to boot, which has affected travellers using foreign currencies and is what has prompted those horror stories about Australia being so expensive.

Wages in Australia

One key to understanding the prices in Australia is to put them in the context of your earnings. According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, the average weekly earnings for an adult in full-time work is AU$1,585.30 (£883), while in the UK, the Office of National Statistic puts the average weekly wage for an adult in full-time employment at £569.

Of course, prices are high in Australia, but by comparing wages, you can hopefully have a clearer idea of your cost of living if you decide to make the move Down Under.

Housing in Australia

There is good news if you’re looking to buy a property in Australia, house prices have dropped more than 3.5 per cent in the past year, with Sydney experiencing the biggest annual fall in 30 years. However, this is partly due to restrictions on lending, making it harder to borrow from banks and comes after around two decades of skyrocketing property prices.

Some argue the property bubble in Australia needed to burst. The average price of a house in Australia is a whopping AU$570,249, around £315,816, while the average property price in the UK is £226,906. 

As in most parts of the world, the major cities are the most expensive, with Sydney taking the top spot (the average house price is double the national average at $1,033,892 – £572,592), followed by Perth and Melbourne. And another universal trend is reflected in where to live within each city, being close to the centre or the beach comes at a premium.

Global asset management firm Pacific Investment Management Co is predicting that house prices could fall another 10 per cent in the next couple of years, but is stopping short of predicting a crash as the country has strong employment and the market is not saturated with properties.

How much does food cost in Australia?

Your weekly grocery shop is likely to be pricier in Australia than it is at home, with prices up to 25 per cent more expensive. There are only two main brands of supermarket in the country – Woolworths and Coles – meaning there is not a lot of competition which can influence prices (although German brand Aldi is shaking up the market somewhat).

However, Australia´s great climate means there is a lot of amazing fresh produce and if you buy local, from farmer´s markets, you can enjoy great quality at a good price. You will certainly have you pick of wines, with wine valleys scattered throughout the country producing world-beating vintages at great prices.

When it comes to eating out, prices are also quite high, with an average meal out for two costing around $80 (£44), which is cheaper than London prices but perhaps more expensive than other areas of the UK.

Bills

In a country that suffers from droughts, it is understandable that water bills can be high here. You can expect to be charged more than in the UK and there can be restrictions on consumption. When it comes to electricity and gas etc, the prices aren’t very different and can even be slightly cheaper in Australia, however internet and phone payments may be a little more expensive.

You can expect lower commuter costs than in London, too, with a monthly transport ticket in Sydney costing less than the UK capital and other cities around 30 percent cheaper than Sydney.

Cost of Petrol

Australia has to import most of its cars, so prices are higher than at home. But many expats decide a car is ideal for exploring their newfound country, it is also useful if you live beyond the city centre where public transport is less available.

Once you’ve bought the car, you will need third party insurance and there is a competitive market so you can expect good prices. Petrol prices are also lower than at home, so while buying a car is a bigger outlay, the everyday costs are lower.

Conclusion

So, should you move Down Under? Well the simple answer is, why not? If you have been planning your move to Australia but had heard horror stories about the cost of living, you simply need to put it into context. Yes, Australia can be expensive and is certainly pricier than the UK on some things, but if you have a good job earning in Australian dollars, you may not feel the difference so much. And with the great Aussie climate, you may even find that enjoying time in the great outdoors cuts your costs compared with trying to find things like family entertainment on a rainy day in the UK.


Are you thinking of moving to Australia? We offer professional removals services direct from the UK!