Sydney is Expensive; Live Close for Less

Australia By Elizabeth Rozas Dec 19, 2022

Moving to Australia is exciting, but as an expat wanting to live in Sydney you might be concerned about the cost of living in the centre of a major city. It’s worth talking to your colleagues about commute times and the cost of public transport to help you make the right choice between living closer or a little further away. If you decide that Sydney’s central business district (CBD) is too expensive, here are some other options which may be more affordable.

Sydney’s more affordable suburbs


Some 30km southwest of the CBD, lies Cabramatta. The area has its own central business district housing Dutton Plaza, which comprises 26 retail premises and amenities on the ground floor, four offices on the first floor, and 275 car spaces on the first and second floors [1]. Cabramatta is a melting pot of many ethnicities including being a centre for the Vietnamese population. Many other Asian and European expats also live here.

Wiley Park

This suburb, located around 17km southwest of Sydney CBD, has schools, parkland, and a small shopping centre. Its residents include immigrants from Bangladesh, Lebanon, Vietnam, Italy, Greece, and the Philippines to name some. Property here is among the most affordable of all Sydney suburbs.

Croydon Park

At only 10km west of Sydney CBD, Croydon Park is one of the most affordable inner-city suburbs around Sydney with a median weekly rent of $350 for a unit [2]. It is well served by several bus routes but doesn’t have a train station to link it to central Sydney. However, it is a popular residential area with parks, primary schools and a thriving commercial area with retail and hospitality outlets.


According to research commissioned by home moving platform, Roselands is the most inexpensive Sydney suburb to rent property at an average weekly cost of $335 [3]. Roselands is a neighbour of Wiley Park and has a diverse multi-ethnic community including expats from Bangladesh and China.


This suburb of Sydney is around 30km west of the CBD and has some of the most affordable property in the Sydney area. However, it is an area which has become somewhat neglected, so may not be the best choice for expats living near Sydney.

Further afield

The Blue Mountains

If you are happy to commute into central Sydney, you could choose to go around 60-70km west of the city to the stunning Blue Mountains National Park area. The advantages of this area include the proximity to wide open spaces for hiking, camping, and climbing. Katoomba is the largest town with a great mix of amenities and beautiful views. A two-bedroom unit here costs on average $380-$400 a week [4]. Alternatively, go a little further out still to Lithgow and you can get a 3-bedroom house for $300 a week [5].

Northern Rivers

If you are going to live in the Northern Rivers area and work in central Sydney, you’ll need to commute by plane (1hr 15 flight time) as it’s an 8 hour road trip. This may put it out of reach for most people working in Sydney; however, if you are able to work remotely, the Northern Rivers area could be a dream spot. This area boasts one of the most famous beaches, Byron Bay and offers an outdoor and luxurious lifestyle with shopping, spas, and restaurants. For more affordable property, check out Ballina, 25km south of Byron Bay where you can rent a 2-bedroom house starting from around $550 a week [6]. Be warned though, demand for rentals in beach areas can be very competitive and can push the price quite high.

Moving to Australia

Whilst the cost of living in Australia is higher than many other countries, the average wages are also higher, so your money stretches further. This means you may be able to live where you want and still send money home. The Western Union money transfer app makes this process very straightforward. You can send money in person from one of our agent locations across Australia, including many Australia Post locations, or you can visit Western Union website.

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