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The cost of living in Australia: Your ultimate guide

/ / Life in Australia, Our latest posts

cost of living in australiaIf you’re like most of our clients, the cost of living in Australia is high on your list of concerns.

Why? Because you want to know that you can offer your family a better life. And that starts with knowing that your salary will be able to comfortably cover your expenses.

Of course the only way to know is to sit down and do the research. But it could take hours!

Unless…You simply read this article all the way to the end.

We’ve done all the research for you and compiled the average living costs right here. First up is salaries in Australia and then it’s time to look at:

  • Housing
  • Utilities
  • Groceries
  • Transport


As in all countries, salaries range by profession, experience and skill level. To get an idea of what you could earn in your job, have a look at the salary index on PayScale.

To see how much buying power this salary is likely to afford you, go to MoneySmart.

MoneySmart has put together a handy infographic that shows how much Australians spend on everyday expenses. Scroll past the yearly nation averages to get to the weekly household averages.


You can choose to rent or buy a home in Australia. You might have to rent a home when you first arrive so let’s start there:


Rental costs are influenced by a number of factors:

  • The size and quality of the property.
  • The region, city or neighbourhood the property is in.
  • The distance from a large city or town, public transport and other facilities.

Generally speaking rent is lower in more rural areas as well as areas further away from major areas, public transport and other facilities.

Areas with the highest rent tend to be in Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin.

Here’s what you can expect from rental prices in these and other larger cities:

Type of apartment/house

Average rental price per week


AU$250 – AU$350

1-bedroom apartment

AU$350 – AU$450

2-bedroom apartment

AU$500 – AU$600

3-bedroom apartment

AU$700 – AU$1000

2-bedroom house

AU$500 – AU$750

3-bedroom house

AU$800 – AU$1200

For specific pricing, and to research other areas, go to realestate.com.au.

Rental fees and deposits

You can expect to pay an agency a fee of one weeks’ rent for a six-month lease and two weeks’ rent of a one-year lease.

On top of this you’ll be expected to pay a month’s rent upfront as well as a deposit (or ‘bond’ as it’s called in Australia). This deposit is usually equal to between four and six weeks’ rent.

australia rental hidden costs


The average prices of houses in Australia has increased in 2017.

In some areas these price increases have been significant (Melbourne and Sydney), while in other areas the increase has been marginal (Canberra and Perth).

Here’s what the average house prices looked like at the end of March 2017:


Average House Price


AU$805 000


AU$605 000


AU$480 000


AU$439 000


AU$475 000


AU$355 000


AU$490 000


AU$586 500


To do a tailored search, you can once again go to realestate.com.au.


The main utilities for any home would be water and electricity. Of course an internet connection is also considered essential in this day and age.


Water bills in Australia are generally made up of two charges:

  • A fixed-fee service use charge. This charge covers the supply of water to the home and connection ot sewerage systems.
  • A variable water use charge. This charge is calculated on the actual amount of water used.

Your water usage will be priced per kilolitre (1000 litres). Some states used tiered pricing, i.e. the more water you use, the highter the rates your water will be charged at.

Many states vary water prices depending on the location of the property (city or a rural area). Other states apply the same water usage rates to all residents.

Here is the actual prices of water for eight of Australia’s biggest cities (as at January 2016):


Price per kilolitre


AU$2.35 – AU$3.63




AU$2.60 – AU$5.22






AU$2.5877 – AU$3.7494






There are various electricity suppliers to choose from in Australia. It is also common to find houses with gas instead or electricity and gas combos.

You can quickly and easily compare suppliers and prices for all options on iSelect.


Australia’s large number of internet providers offers a wide selection of unique plans and connection options. You can have a look at all that’s on offer on iSelect, Compare Broadband and whistleOut.


While public transport is available in Australia, many Australians choose to own a car and drive where they need to be.

You might very well choose to buy a used car, but let’s look at prices for some brand-new cars:

australian new car prices

What about insurance and petrol?

Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurance is mandatory in Australia. It provides compensation for bodily injuries caused by vehicles but does not provide cover for any damage to the vehicle. It is thus advisable to also purchase another form of insurance.

To see how much you can expect to fork out for insurance, start with a search on comparethemarket.com.au.

As for fuel prices, it differs from one state or territory to another. The latest prices are available on the Australian AA site.


The general rule is that local produce will be cheaper than imported items.

Numbeo is a great site if you’d like to see how much food items are in Australia. The site lists most of the items the average person will have on their shopping list, from milk and rice to chicken breasts, bananas and lettuce.

australian price comparison site

Keep this guide to the cost of living in Australia handy!

Why don’t you bookmark this page so that it’s easier to refer to? You can also use this article once you’re in Australia, which will make your settling period much simpler too.

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