Cost of Living in Sydney



Sydney continues to be on the top ten list of the world’s most livable cities; the city clearly proves to be everything an expat desires in his or her new home.

Sydney holds the distinction of being the most expensive city in Australia for expats and is ranked 26th in Mercer’s 2014 Cost of Living Survey, which measures the cost of living for expatriates in 143 cities around the world. Sydney is also a major financial hub as it employs one-third of the country’s financial workforce. Many big businesses have set up headquarters in Sydney, and the Australian Stock Exchange and Reserve Bank are both based in Sydney as well.

"It is much more expensive than in Paris (50% more at least), and the salaries are much higher too (75% more in IT at least). As a consequence, I didn’t find that my power of purchasing was impacted. Note that the high exchange rate between euros and Australian dollars extrapolates also these discrepancies."- Karine Pham, Expat in Sydney

Buying Real Estate

Expats who are interested in buying real estate in Sydney will discover that property can be quite expensive, as the cosmopolitan ambience of the city attracts a high demand for housing. Sydney is only a stone’s throw away from some of the best beach areas in Australia, and thus prices of real estate will be rather costly. Additionally, expatriates who are looking to live closer to the city and business district will find that the prices of condominiums and apartments will cost more.

Property for sale in Sydney is usually bought with the assistance of an agent, so expats are advised to pursue real estate agent services when buying land. Aside from getting the services of a real estate agent, another way to find property for sale in Sydney involves purchasing real estate directly from homeowners. Depending on the cost of real estate, expats may want to apply for an overseas mortgage. Expatriates will find it easier to receive a successful mortgage application if they can prove that they have been employed for several months and possess a good credit card rating. After the sale has been finalised, expats are expected to provide for home insurance as well. Other fees that are usually included in the purchasing process include a lenders application fee, lenders mortgage insurance, land transfer fee and additional legal fees that are charged by solicitors.


The costs of living in Sydney can be high, especially when it comes to rent. Sydney boasts of a coastal lifestyle and warm weather, attracting many from all over the world. Thankfully, there are plenty of residential areas for expats to choose from, although most Sydney residents live in south or west of the City Bowl District for its affordable housing prices. Other popular suburbs are Double Bay, which is more high-class, and Manly, which requires a ferry commute to reach the Central Business District.

Expats can expect to shell out A$ 400 to A$ 500 A$ a month for a one-bedroom apartment, while three-bedroom apartments located in waterfront areas can cost up to 1,300 A$ per month. Rent is paid at the end of every month, and expats who are looking to save on the costs of rent may want to consider sharing a flat with a roommate. 


Expats need to be aware that utility bills for electricity, water and other services are considered to be the responsibility of the tenant and not the landlord. Electricity is relatively affordable, although expats need to be aware of the possibility of receiving high electricity bills for running the air-conditioner during the warm summer months and the costs that come with using the heater during winter. Gas is less expensive than electricity, and gas comes in bottled forms for those who live in remote areas. Sydney and the rest of Australia consider water to be valued commodity, and droughts and water shortages are often experienced.

Food Consumption

Dining out in Sydney can cost A$9.00 in an inexpensive restaurant and can cost up to A$16.00 or more in a middle to a high-range restaurant. One litre of water costs an average of A$2.53, a litre of milk costs A$1.39 and a litre of Pepsi or Coke soda costs A$2.98. Imported beer costs A$4.77 per litre bottle, while a bottle of white wine costs A$20.00. One loaf of fresh white bread costs A$2.29, and a dozen eggs cost A$5.24.


Public transportation in Sydney consists of some trains, buses and ferries that serve various suburbs around the city as well as Sydney’s central business district. Train stations in Sydney are connected to northern, southern and western suburbs, which make it easy for commuters to head to work. Train services function from 4:00 a.m. to midnight and all train stations have vending machines that operate for 24 hours. While Sydney does have several buses that run throughout the day, Sydney also features a network of night buses, known as NightRide. These night buses operate between midnight at 5:00 a.m. on weekdays and run on 13 routes.

Expats who own or have shipped a car to Sydney will be able to apply for an Australian Driver's license as long as they have been living in Australia for more than 3 months. A knowledge test, practical driving test and an eyesight test will need to be done to obtain an Australian Driver's license. Certain documents will also need to be submitted, such as proof of identity, address and visa status. Expats who hail from certain countries (United States, United Kingdom, France, Japan, Germany, Singapore and Sweden) will find that their licences from their home country are recognised within Australia and are exempted from taking tests.



Continue reading:

Cost of Living in Australia

Expat Services in Sydney