AU- Cost of Living-Perth vs. Sydney.

Australia By Elizabeth Rozas Jan 25, 2023

Australia has always been a popular destination for people looking to live and work in another country, but how do you choose which city to move to? The cost of living in Australia is one aspect that immigrants need to consider as well as job opportunities, sufficient housing, schooling, and other amenities to suit their lifestyle.

Choosing where to live in Australia

Most immigrants opt for one of the large cities in Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, or Adelaide. Although Canberra is the capital city of Australia, it is more than 10 times smaller than Sydney by population and fewer immigrants settle there. Just over half of all migrants live in either Sydney or Melbourne [1]. However, Perth is the third most popular option for those moving to Australia.

Why live in Sydney?

Sydney is the most popular destination for immigrants to Australia. According to the Australian 2021 population census, more than 20% (5.2 million) of the entire population live in Greater Sydney [2]. Famous for its iconic architecture such as the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Sydney has an international reputation for dozens of great beaches (including Bondi Beach), top quality restaurants, surfing, arts, and culture.  The city is considered to have the best job opportunities in Australia with a bustling Central Business District (CBD) that is home to banking and finance, insurance, and legal firms. Sydney is therefore a great place to live and work for anyone keen to create a busy, outdoor lifestyle in a thriving, cosmopolitan location.

Why Live in Perth?

Perth, in Western Australia, also offers great outdoor living, albeit on a smaller scale than Sydney. There are 19 beautiful beaches, as well as parks, nature reserves and wineries. A well-respected education system and a low crime rate means Perth is a great place to bring up a family where housing is more affordable than other Australian cities. Perth is a good choice for Western immigrants who want to be closer to home as flights are up to six hours shorter than if you choose to relocate to Sydney or Brisbane.

Job prospects and wages in Perth are good, especially if you have an in-demand skillset or work experience, such as construction, other trades, mining or environmental sustainability. Eight of the world’s top fourteen international energy companies have their head office in Perth [3].

If you are a foodie, you might enjoy the wealth of specialty seafood restaurants that Perth has to offer.

Cost of Living in Perth vs. Sydney

As you might expect, the cost of living in Sydney is typically more than the cost of living in Perth.  The cost in Sydney is driven up by the high cost of property, both to rent or to buy. Within the city centre, you can expect to pay 150% more to buy a property in Sydney vs. a comparable one in Perth [4]. Rental properties whether in the city centre or the suburbs are also significantly more expensive in Sydney.

When it comes to other living costs such as groceries, there’s more of a mixed picture with some standard items more expensive than in Perth, but others cheaper. Public transport in Perth typically costs less than in Sydney as does the price of fuel. However, utilities such as energy, water and broadband are often cheaper in Sydney [4].

If you like to keep fit at a gym, generally you’ll pay more for membership in Sydney and going out to the cinema is also cheaper in Perth [4].

Of course, the costs of everyday items are only half the picture. Immigrants moving to Australia might be able to choose their destination freely, or they may have a particular skillset which predetermines where they can work. Your income plays a huge part in how affordable one location is over another. Average wages are typically higher in Sydney than in Perth, but taking into account, income and expenses, generally immigrants will be slightly better off in Perth [4].

Whether you choose Sydney or Perth will depend on the sort of lifestyle you crave, what job opportunities there are, how far away you are prepared to be from family and friends, and whether you want to be in a very busy capital or a more isolated location.

Sending money to and from Australia

Moving abroad is a big lifestyle change and could be the best decision you ever made. You can create a healthier way of life and secure your family’s financial future. When you immigrate to Australia, you’ll need to transfer money into Australian dollars, and you might decide to send money back home as well. The Western Union money transfer app enables you to make easy transfers or you can use our website. Alternatively, you can also make or receive in-person money transfers from one of our agent locations across Australia including many Australia Post locations.

If you require further help to make cross-border payments, check out our FAQs.