The Cost of Living in Australia 2020 - TOBECOMECITIZEN.COM
OCTOBER 08, 2020
BY Manu Thomassin
People from everywhere in the world often embrace the dream of moving to start a new life in Australia. For some people, it’s the need to run away from a dreary 9 to 5 or a cold climate that makes Australia an expat hub. For others, it is the desire of making a fresh start on a continent known for its sun as well as sand and surf.
In 2020, Australia continues to be a dream destination for expats from everywhere on the globe seeking all the above Down Under. Not only is the temperature a lot warmer in parts of Australia in comparison with many countries but according to Expatistan, the cost of living in Australia can be cheaper as well. A cheaper lifestyle is a major financial benefit, giving the opportunity for someone planning to migrate to Australia the chance to earn a good salary while spending less.
So here is a quick look at the cost of living in Australia for an expat.
Australia’s Cost of Living ranking 2020
Sydney is now ranked in the 32nd position in a 2020 Number cost of living survey, with an index of 66.68 for daily expenses such as groceries, transport costs, and accommodation costs (such as rent or a mortgage). In comparison, London has an expensive cost of living plus rent index, ranked in the 17th position with 75.90 in the same survey, with Melbourne and Perth coming in at 70th and 100th position respectively. While the cost of living is clearly an essential measure for anyone considering a move overseas, this also has to be compared against the potential wages on offer in that location.
Another key metric this research looked at was buying power for an average wage – essentially, how much can be bought on a typical wage in a given city. Every city in the examination is rated against New York, which has a score of 100. Here, Sydney scored 97.02.
This means that domestically, people in Sydney can obtain approximately 3% fewer goods and services on their salary than if they were residing in NYC. To put that in context, Londoners have a purchasing power of 78.16, with a record of 21% lower than New Yorkers.
Where to live in Australia
When looking to move to Australia, professional expats are generally drawn to the four big cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth. In 2019 Mercer published a survey classifying the quality of living in 231 cities around the globe. Australian cities rated highly, with Sydney and Melbourne following in at number 11 and 17 respectively. Perth came in the 21st place, with Brisbane slightly further down the list in 35th place. Moreover, all of Australia’s major cities are listed within the top 50 for safety.
How much does housing cost in Australia?
Conforming to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the mean price of residential dwellings stood at a$660,800- with property prices in both Sydney and Melbourne in Q4 of 2019 recording an increase of 3.6%. It is important to be aware of the details around what type of property you can purchase as an expat. Buying property is depending on the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval and in general, you will only be eligible to obtain an unoccupied new dwelling.
Rental prices in Australia 2020
If buying is not in your plans, renting is a more affordable option for most expats living in Australia. Once again even within the same neighborhoods, prices vary from city to city. In accordance with expatistan.com, monthly rent for an 85 sqm (900 sqft) furnished apartment in an “expensive” Sydney neighborhood is approx $3,429 compared to $2,279 in a similar neighborhood and size apartment in Melbourne. If you are renting on a budget, an 85 sqm (900 sqft) equipped apartment in a “normal” neighborhood in Sydney is estimated to be 37% more expensive at $2,689, in comparison with $1,969 in Melbourne.
Travel and commuting in Australia
Sydney is ranked as 34% cheaper for transport costs than in a city like London – good news for any Brits planning to move Down Under as they get to go further for less. A monthly transport ticket in Sydney like the Sydney Opal card will set you back approximately $217 where a similar monthly pass like the Oyster card will cost you $291.53 in London according to numbeo.com. In contrast with the other major Australian cities, a monthly travel pass cost is A$159 in Melbourne and $116.61 in Perth, which makes the ticket cost in Perth over 46% cheaper than in Sydney. The Sydney Opal card grants you to catch trains, buses, ferries and light rail in Sydney and the surrounding areas: north to Newcastle, west to the Blue Mountains and south to Wollongong and the Southern Highlands. The distinction between the Sydney Opal Card and the Oyster card is that the latter is limited to public transport in central London. It’s not just public transport costs where expats in Australia can have low living costs. If commuting by car, the cost of fuel can be much cheaper too. One liter of gas will set you back approximately $1.50 in Australia. In contrast, it would cost $2.47 in the UK (expatistan.com).
Health and fitness
Australia is famous for its sunny weather, and with such great weather to enjoy in most of the major cities, Australians can profit the most of the outdoors after work and on weekends. Australia has a very strong cultural interest in outdoor pursuits like walking, running, and cycling. For any days where it is too hot to work out under the sun, a gym is always an option. Prices for joining a gym change from city to city in Australia, but often you can enjoy working out indoors for $83 per month in Sydney, $94 in Melbourne, and at almost half the cost for just $56 in Perth according to expatistan.com. It is not just working out and fitness that leads to a healthier life in Oz. Australia is often called the “lucky country” and considering its life expectancy figures, you would have to agree.
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data shows that the life assumption in Australia is 82.60 (80.50 and 84.60 for men and women respectively). Life expectancy is increasing due to the high quality of life, enhanced living conditions and advancements in the Australian healthcare system known as Medicare. A 2017 comparison between the healthcare systems of commonwealth countries presents Australia ranking right after the UK for the performance of its healthcare system, with Canada, France and the US falling below the international average. All this gladly means that for any illness or medical treatment you (hopefully won’t, but) may need while in Australia, you are in safe hands.
Eating in… and out
Here is another tasty way to enjoy the outdoors in Australia, dining al fresco in a top restaurant. Dinner for two at an Italian restaurant in a typical ‘expat area’ including appetizers, main course, wine, and dessert will be worth $111 in Sydney compared with approx $105 in Melbourne and $123 in Perth. If your style is more of enjoying a home-cooked meal, then a decent bottle of red wine to go with it will set you back $18 in Perth, $18 in Sydney, and $20 in Melbourne. The ultimate expat test in any city is the price of a cup of coffee. Your morning cappuccino in an expat area of Perth will cost $4.92, but it’s a little cheaper in Sydney at $4.59, and cheaper again in Melbourne at $4.45. Considering that you will most likely enjoy it outside under a clear blue sky, it’s worth it. (Source: expatistan.com).
Extra costs to take in consideration when moving to Australia
Life in Australia is not all work and no play for sure. For a Saturday night at the movies, two tickets will be around AU$37 in Sydney compared with the price of $41 in Perth and $38 in Melbourne. So there is not an extreme difference if you want to escape into the air conditioning for 2.5 hours. A further selling point for most ex-pats is the amount of money you can earn in Australia – a major draw for people from the UK, Europe or New Zealand.
With the typical monthly salary in Australia coming in at nearly $4,639 according to Numbeo, a move Down Under looks very attractive when compared with an average salary of almost $3,627 in the UK – meaning a relatively 28% increase in your monthly earnings if working in Australia rather than in the UK. With its world-class healthcare, amazing weather, and excellent career opportunities, Australia will continue to be a top choice for ex-pats worldwide.