Are you considering moving to Australia and need to know what the cost of living in Sydney is?
You’ve come to the right place because I emigrated from the UK to Sydney a few years ago, so I know the cost of living in Sydney very well!
When looking at Sydney’s cost of living, remember that it is one of the most expensive cities in Australia. In fact, it ranks as the most expensive city to live in Oceania.
However, with a median after-tax salary of $4423, many residents find that they can comfortably cover their living expenses. So don’t give up your dream just yet!
From housing, transportation and education to dining out and a trip to the cinema at the weekend, this blog post will cover the different aspects of the cost of living in Sydney, to help you make an informed decision about relocating to this dynamic city (and hopeful take some stress away too).
So let’s dive in, and find out what the real cost of living in Sydney is!
Cost of Living in Sydney in 2023
❗️The cost of living in Sydney for families will vary depending on the circumstances of your children. For example, whether there are daycare/ private school fees involved. I will go into more detail about these costs further down in this article.
Later in this post, I will delve into each category in greater detail and provide specific breakdowns for different family situations. So, keep reading!
To get a brief overview of the average expenses you can expect while living in Sydney, glance at the table below.
|Amenities of Daily Living||Average Expense|
|Rent (based on a 1-bedroom apartment in the city)||$2,000/per month|
|Electricity, Gas and Water||$228/ per month|
|Phone & internet||$105/ per month|
|Public Transport||$120/per month|
* Costs are based on a single person per month.
Cost of Living Sydney: Housing and Accommodation
Factors That Impact Housing and Rental Costs
The average rent in Sydney, Australia
Renting is a common housing option in Sydney due to factors such as high property prices, a transient population, and the desire for flexibility.
In Australia, approximately 31% of the population rent the home they live in, highlighting the popularity and prevalence of renting as a housing choice.
Renting in Sydney may be a good option when you initially move to Sydney, allowing you to explore different areas and neighbourhoods before committing to a long-term housing solution.
It also allows you to focus on other aspects of settling into a new country, such as finding employment or establishing social connections.
How much does it cost to rent an apartment in Sydney?
The below table will give you a rough guide as to how much you might spend on a rental per week. Keep in mind that this will vary depending on which suburb you choose:
|Accommodation Type||The average cost of rent per week|
|1- bedroom within the city (Sydney CBD)||$650|
|1-bedroom outside city limits (Paramatta)||$400|
|2-bedroom within city (Sydney CBD)||$950|
|2-bedroom outside city limits (Paramatta)||$450|
|3-bedroom house within the city (Sydney CBD)||$1300|
|3-bedroom house outside city limits (Paramatta)||$600|
In addition to rent, you will be required to pay a bond (deposit) to secure a rental, which is usually 4 weeks’ rent.
❗️When looking for a rental in Sydney, remember that rental prices are listed per week, rather than monthly.
Cheaper alternatives to renting in Sydney?
Renting a room in a houseshare can be a more cost-effective alternative to renting an entire apartment, as the cost is divided among the tenants. Housesharing is a really great option if you are on a working holiday visa or have travelled to Sydney alone.
Housesharing offers the opportunity to split household expenses and enjoy shared amenities, fostering a sense of community and potentially creating new friendships.
🏠 You can rent a room in Sydney for around $250 per week, the more popular suburbs such as Bondi can be around $350+ per week.
Housesitting can provide a cost-effective alternative to renting as it often involves staying in someone’s home for free in exchange for taking care of their property and pets.
It allows you to save on accommodation expenses while enjoying the comforts of a home environment. The length of stay can vary from a week to a few months, so ideal for backpackers who plan to travel around Australia.
Buying a Home in Sydney, Australia
For those with Australian citizenship or permanent residency, purchasing a house in Sydney offers the opportunity to establish a long-term home and potentially build equity over time.
When buying a house in Sydney, one of the primary considerations is the deposit. Generally, a deposit of at least 20% of the property’s purchase price is required.
As well as a deposit, there are also the below expenses to consider:
|Stamp Duty||In NSW it ranges from 1.25% to 7% of the property’s value.|
|Legal and Conveyancing Fees||Fees for solicitor or conveyancer services, including property title searches, contract preparation, and settlement assistance.|
|Building and Pest Inspections||Cost of professional inspections to identify structural or pest-related issues.|
|Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI)||Insurance premium if your deposit is less than 20% of the property’s value.|
According to the latest CoreLogic Home Value Index, released in April 2023:
Buying a Home in Sydney as a Non-Resident: Understanding Associated Fees
Purchasing a home in Sydney as a non-resident involves additional fees and considerations. Here are the additional key fees to be aware of:
|Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) Application Fee||Fee for obtaining approval from the FIRB before purchasing a residential property. |
For $1 million or less, you will pay $5,800 $1 million to $1,999,999 you will pay $11,700
|Foreign Buyer Surcharge||An additional fee is imposed on foreign buyers purchasing residential property. |
Foreign buyers who purchase residential-related property in NSW must pay an additional 8% surcharge purchaser duty on top of any transfer duty.
|Currency Conversion and Transfer Fees||Fees associated with currency conversion and transferring funds from overseas.|
Home & Tenants Insurance
Next up on our list of things to think about when wondering what the cost of living in Sydney is, is insurance for your new rental. Now, you might be thinking, “Do I really need tenants’ insurance?” Well, while it’s not mandatory, it can be a real lifesaver, and here’s why.
Tenants’ insurance can cover you for a bunch of unexpected events like theft, fire, or damage to your personal belongings.
So, if you’ve got a laptop that never leaves your side or a beloved bike that would cost a pretty penny to replace, insurance could have your back.
🏘 The cost of tenant’s insurance in Sydney can vary depending on a few factors, like the value of your belongings and the level of coverage you choose. However, to give you a ballpark figure, you could be looking at anywhere between $20 to $40 per month.
Remember, while this is an extra cost to consider, it could end up saving you a whole lot more in the long run. It’s all about weighing up the risk and deciding what gives you peace of mind.
In Sydney, it’s not legally required to have homeowner’s insurance, but it’s generally considered a smart move.
Homeowner’s insurance covers you for things like damage to your home from fires, storms, and other events, and it can also cover legal costs if someone is injured on your property. So, you can see why it’s a good idea, right?
As for costs, it varies a fair bit depending on factors like the size and location of your home, the type of cover you choose, and the value of your home and its contents.
🏡 On average, you might expect to pay between $1000 to $2000 per year to insure a typical Sydney home. Just remember, it’s not just about the cheapest policy, but one that gives you the right coverage for your needs.
Cost of Living in Sydney: Utilities & Internet
Getting a grasp on the cost of living in Sydney means thinking about all those essentials that keep your home running – necessities like electricity, gas, water, and of course, that oh-so-important internet connection!
They are usually billed per quarter in Sydney.
On average, a household in Sydney can expect to pay around $300 to $500 per quarter for electricity, approximately $150 to $250 per quarter for gas, and AUD 180 to AUD 250 per quarter for water, depending on the plan and provider.
The cost of electricity for a single person living in a 1-bedroom apartment in Sydney can vary depending on usage however you could expect to pay an average cost of about $230 AUD per quarter.
The average cost of gas for a single person living in a 1-bedroom apartment in Sydney would equate to around $155 per quarter.
In Sydney, a single-person household is likely to spend about $74 per month on water.
A typical internet plan offering moderate speeds suitable for general browsing, video streaming, and occasional downloads generally costs between $60AUD and $90AUD per month.
However, the price can vary based on the provider and specific features of the plan such as data limit, speed, and contract length.
💡 An excellent tip for saving money on the internet, one that I personally use and find incredibly effective, is to leverage your mobile phone data plan. By using your mobile as a hotspot, you can bypass the need for a separate home internet connection. I’ll talk more about my data plan later in this article.
You’ll find this approach gets you through an evening of Netflix and your daily internet browsing just fine. Plus, who doesn’t love one less bill to worry about, right?
Cost of living in Sydney: Food and Groceries
For those residing in the UK, an exciting revelation awaits: Sydney also boasts the presence of the beloved budget supermarket, Aldi. However, I must admit that achieving a full week’s worth of groceries for a family is challenging on Aldi’s shelves.
Shopping at local markets can be a great way to find fresh, seasonal produce at more affordable prices. The Sydney Morning Herald Growers’ Market and Paddy’s Market are popular choices for many residents in Sydney.
Below is a table to give you an idea of the costs of common household items at supermarkets in Sydney:
|2L Full Fat Milk||$3.10 (1.55/L)|
|1 Loaf of White Bread||$4.90 (0.65 per 100g)|
|1kg of Rice||$1.40 (0.14 per 100g)|
|500g of Pasta||$2.30 (0.46 per 100g)|
|Eggs (6 pack)||£4.10/half dozen|
|1kg chicken fillets||$11/1kg|
|Can of chopped Tomatoes||$2.30/400g|
|Frozen Oven Chips||$6.40/1kg|
|Breakfast Cereal||$8.50 per 960g|
|Toilet Roll (6 pack)||$5.80|
|Toothpaste||$3.00 per 170g|
*Prices found at Woolworths, as of July 2023.
In Australia, the availability and price of fruits and vegetables fluctuate greatly due to seasonal variations.
To make the most of your food shopping budget, it is advisable to plan your meals and grocery list around seasonal produce, ensuring both freshness and affordability.
Cost of Living Sydney: Transportation
Public Transportation in Sydney
Sydney has a well-connected public transportation system, comprising trains, buses, ferries, and a recently built light rail.
The cost of public transport in Sydney is based on the distance travelled, with fares starting at around $3.20 for short trips and going up to $8.86 for long-distance travel across different modes of transportation.
❗️ For frequent travellers, I highly recommend using an Opal card, which caps your weekly travel cost at $50 for adults. This card can be used across all forms of public transport throughout Sydney. Although you can use a credit/debit card on public transport I highly recommend getting an Opal card it has lots of extra benefits such as weekly travel rewards.
Here is a table summarising the cost of public transport in Sydney:
|Mode of Transport||Adult Opal fare range||Adult Opal off-peak fare range||Adult Opal single trip fare range|
|Metro/Train||$3.79 – $9.31||$2.65 – $6.51||$4.60 – $11.20|
|Bus||$3.20 – $5.05||$2.24 – $3.53||$4.00 – $6.10|
|Ferry||$3.20 – $8.04||N/A||$4.00 – $9.70|
|Light Rail||$3.20 – $5.05||$2.24 – $3.53||$4.00 – $6.10|
The base fare for a taxi in Sydney in 2023 is $3.6 . For Uber in Sydney, the base fare is $2.50 with a booking fee of 0.55 cents.
As for which is cheaper, it can depend on factors like the distance of the trip, time of day, and demand for rides.
Uber uses dynamic pricing, which can cause fares to go up during periods of high demand. Taxis, on the other hand, have more stable pricing but can be more expensive, especially for shorter trips.
Cost of owning a car in Sydney
If you prefer driving, owning a car comes with expenses such as fuel, maintenance, and insurance.
To give you an idea about the cost of purchasing a car, a popular car model in Australia, the Volkswagen Golf, has an average price of around $28,000.
Car expenses tend to be higher in Sydney than in Melbourne, primarily due to the increased cost of living. It is also worth noting that the wait time for a brand-new car is particularly lengthy and because of this the price of a used second-hand vehicle has also significantly increased.
Driving around Sydney may also require you to pay road tolls. These fees vary depending on the distance and the specific route you take but be prepared for this additional cost as you navigate your way through the city.
🚖 Some of the major toll roads in Sydney include the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Harbour Tunnel, WestConnex, and Cross City Tunnel. Each of these toll roads has different pricing structures.
It is possible to plan alternative routes that avoid toll roads, but this may result in longer travel times depending on the destination and time of day.
Cost of Living Sydney: Healthcare
Healthcare in Australia operates under a shared public-private model, underpinned by the Medicare system, which is a national single-payer funding model.
State and territory governments operate public health facilities where eligible patients can receive care free of charge. The majority of primary health services, such as GP clinics, are privately owned, but attract Medicare rebates.
Notably, Medicare is available to Australian citizens, permanent residents, and some other visa holders (but not all). Individuals are encouraged through tax surcharges to purchase health insurance to cover services offered in the private sector, further funding healthcare1.
The cost of private health insurance
The average cost of private health insurance is around $160 per month for a single person. Prices can vary by factors from location to level of cover.
Private Health Insurance provides access to private hospitals, faster access to specialists, and covers services that Medicare does not, like physiotherapy, optical and dental.
The average cost of a GP consultation
A Standard GP consultation in Sydney would cost around $90, with a Medicare rebate of $38.20. Long consultation: $110 with a Medicare rebate of $73.95.
Bulk billing is when the doctor accepts the Medicare benefit as full payment for the service, meaning the patient has no out-of-pocket expenses. However, only 46% of specialist consultations were bulk billed, compared with almost 90% for GPs.
Cost of Living in Sydney: Childcare & Education
Childcare and education are vital components when assessing Sydney’s cost of living. In terms of childcare, you’ll encounter various options such as family daycare ($10-$15 per hour) and long daycare centres/ pre-schools ($100-$170 per day). Bear in mind that meals and activities might incur extra costs.
School-wise, public institutions offer free education for Australian citizens and permanent residents, with extra expenses for uniforms, textbooks, and extracurriculars. Alternatively, private schools, offering different curricula, charge AU$5,000-AU$30,000 yearly.
❗️ Permanent residents and citizens may qualify for a Child Care Subsidy (CCS) to cover childcare costs based on income, somewhat easing one of the biggest costs of living factors families in Sydney and Australia face.
Cost of Living Sydney: Entertainment
Sydney’s food scene is nothing short of diverse, with a fantastic array of options, whether you fancy fast food or fine dining.
For example, let’s consider a quick meal at a popular fast-food chain like McDonald’s. Here in Sydney, a Big Mac meal, including a drink and fries, costs around $11.
But let’s say you’re planning a special night out at a high-end establishment like Quay, one of Sydney’s most awarded restaurants. For a fine dining experience here, with their tasting menu, you’re looking at $275 per person, not including drinks.
Then there’s the convenience of takeaway services like Uber Eats, offering meals from a broad spectrum of restaurants. You could get anything from a $17 Pad Thai from a local Thai restaurant to a $30 speciality curry, plus delivery fees.
I personally order an uber eats for myself and my partner twice a month, the cost of this is $160 including delivery fees. This is without drinks. Whilst there are some cheaper restaurants to order from, it can be expensive for some!
Catching a film at the cinema in Sydney will typically set you back around $18 to $22 for an adult ticket.
If you fancy some classic movie snacks, expect to pay about $9.20 for regular popcorn. And if you’re going for the full cinema experience with a regular-sized soft drink, that’s another $7.90 to your tab.
Gym Membership and Fitness Classes
At Fitness First, one of Sydney’s most popular gym chains, you could be looking at around $65 to $85 per month for a standard membership, depending on the level of access you want. Another popular choice is Anytime Fitness, where membership typically costs around $60 to $70 per month.
If you’re more into specific fitness classes, Sydney has also covered you. For instance, a single class at a boutique Pilates studio, such as KX Pilates, could cost you about $35. However, purchasing classes in packages can reduce the cost per class, making it a more budget-friendly option if you’re a regular.
Yoga enthusiasts can expect to pay around $20 to $30 per class at studios like BodyMindLife or Power Living. Again, if you’re a dedicated yogi, consider an unlimited monthly membership for about $150 to $00, which could be a better value if you attend multiple classes a week.
Remember, investing in your health and fitness is just as important as any other aspect of living in Sydney. And with such a range of options and costs, there’s likely a fitness solution to suit almost any budget!
Now, for those of you who enjoy a good dance or a night out, Sydney’s clubs could be your scene!
Let’s consider a popular spot in the Sydney CBD. For example, getting into a trendy club like the Ivy can cost around $20 to $30 on a regular night, though prices can be higher for special events.
My first night out in Sydney? Let’s just say my wallet got a shock with the $50 entry fee at The Argyle, a club in The Rocks. For a backpacker like me on a Working Holiday Visa, that was a serious dent in the budget!
So yes, while clubbing isn’t a daily expense (or if it is, we salute you!), it’s something to consider when calculating your own cost of living in Sydney.
If you’re buying from a bottle shop, you can expect to pay around $20 for a six-pack of local beer and around $15-20 for a decent bottle of wine.
However, if you’re drinking at a pub or bar, the cost can quickly rise, a pint of beer will. typically set you back anywhere from $8 to $12, depending on the venue and brand.
So, whether you prefer to enjoy your tipple at home or out on the town can significantly impact your cost of living in Sydney.
When it comes to the morning ritual of grabbing a takeaway coffee in Australia, you’ll find it’s a cherished tradition.
On average, a coffee from a local cafe typically costs around $4.50 for a regular size.
If you prefer a milk alternative like oat milk to complement your caffeine fix, be prepared to add an extra 40 cents to the price.
Let me tell you this though, Australia is home to some of the best coffee I have ever tasted so you won’t be disappointed!
Cost of Living in Sydney: Other Costs
Sydney offers a range of phone plan options from major telecommunication providers like Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone, as well as smaller companies like Boost Mobile and TPG. Your two main choices are contract plans and pay-as-you-go plans.
Contract plans typically involve a 12 or 24-month agreement and can range from $60-80 per month, often including a new phone. Pay-as-you-go plans are flexible prepaid options where you pay upfront for call minutes, texts, and data, with prices starting from $15.
Your choice of provider largely depends on your specific needs and area coverage. Telstra has wide coverage but can be pricier. Optus and Vodafone are more budget-friendly and have good coverage in metropolitan areas.
For some great data deals, check out Aldi and Amaysim. Aldi’s mobile plans, running on the Telstra network, offer good value. Amaysim has competitive prepaid plans, ideal if you don’t want a long-term commitment.
💡 Currently, I use Aldi’s prepaid SIM. It’s affordable, and the coverage is solid. So solid, in fact, that I use my data by hotspot for all our internet needs including Netflix streaming. It’s a savvy little trick that saves us the cost of a separate internet plan!
Clothing and accessories
When it comes to clothing and accessories, the cost can vary widely depending on your personal style and preferences. Sydney offers a broad range of options, from high-end boutiques in areas like the Queen Victoria Building and Bondi Junction to more budget-friendly options in the city’s bustling markets and outlet stores.
At the high end, you could be looking at $200 and above for a designer dress or a quality pair of men’s shoes. If designer labels are your style, then you can expect to pay anywhere from $500-$1000 or more for a luxury handbag.
For the more budget-conscious, there are plenty of affordable options. Popular Australian brands like Cotton On and Target offer fashionable clothing at a more reasonable price. Here, a pair of jeans might cost around $40, a basic tee for $15, and a summer dress could set you back around $30.
Don’t forget about the city’s thriving second-hand and vintage scene, which offers unique pieces at a fraction of the cost of new items. You could find a vintage leather jacket for around $50 or a preloved designer bag for a couple of hundred dollars.
The table below is a representation of the income tax rates for the financial years 2023-24 and 2022-23 in Australia, which may help you work out how much tax you will pay to live and to work in Sydney:
|Income Thresholds||Tax Rate||Tax Payable on This Income|
|$0 – $18,200||0%||Nil|
|$18,201 – $45,000||19%||19c for each $1 over $18,200|
|$45,001 – $120,000||32.5%||$5,092 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $45,000|
|$120,001 – $180,000||37%||$29,467 plus 37c for each $1 over $120,000|
|$180,001 and over||45%||$51,667 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000|
Please note that these rates are for residents of Australia. Tax rates do vary for different visas.
Cost of Living in Sydney: Frequently Asked Questions
Before you go…
It’s key to remember that the cost of living isn’t the only factor to consider when pondering a move Down Under. Australia offers a wealth of other compelling reasons to relocate, from its stunning landscapes to its vibrant cultural scene and beyond.
To dive deeper into these attractions, check out my comprehensive article on 25 compelling reasons to move to Australia, It could just provide the extra push you need to make the move!
Ready to go but don’t have a job? Check out this article on finding visa sponsorship jobs in Australia!