What is the cost of living really like in Australia?

When you are considering relocating to any country, one of the factors to think about is always the cost of living.  While a higher cost of living than here in the UK doesn’t have to mean that the relocation is not worth considering, you do need to make sure that you are going to be able to have the lifestyle you want based on the cost of everyday and luxury items.  So, what’s the cost of living really like in Australia?
Where to live
The cost of living, particularly in the Australian cities, has actually dropped a little in the last couple of years, and the cities have long been rated as some of the best places to live in the world, and continue to be so.
Sydney and Melbourne remain two of the most popular spots for UK expats to consider with Sydney sitting at number 42 on the world’s most expensive cities to live in, according to the Cost of Living Index by Mercer.  In terms of expat hubs, Sydney is in the top ten places in the world, alongside cities such as Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Other Australian cities remain high on the list of most desirable places to live and come in a little more reasonable. Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide are all fabulous places to live offering a slightly lower cost of living while the coastal towns can offer a lower overall cost as well.
Essential costs
For those who are looking to buy a property, this cost of living reflects in the house prices.  The average house price in Sydney is a cool $1,021,968 while Adelaide comes in at a more affordable $490,000.  If you are happy living outside the cities, then the prices drop to around the $300,000 mark in regional areas in South Australia and Victoria.  Rents follow a similar pattern with average rent prices in Sydney being around $650 a week but half that for a similar sized property in Hobart.
The cost of food is another big element to consider. Some foods are a little more expensive than here in the UK. One example would be eggs that would be around £1.89 a dozen in the UK supermarket and would cost the Australian dollar equivalent of £2.60.  Yet other foods such as chicken breasts are almost the same, only around 0.30% more expensive in Australia compared to UK prices.
Non-essential costs
The cost of going out for a meal, both in somewhere inexpensive such as a takeway and for a quality restaurant is on the whole more expensive in Australia but not by a huge amount and in some cases, can actually be cheaper.  Items such as imported and local beer and soft drinks such as Pepsi tend to be more expensive but drinks like cappuccinos can be lower than in the UK.
Other non-essential costs vary between shops.  The cost of a cinema ticket is very similar in price however an item in a world-wide clothing chain might be around 20% more expensive than here in the UK.
Conclusion
The general cost of living comparing Australia to the UK sees that Australia is around 10% higher for general cost of living.  But this doesn’t reflect the entire picture and your day to day costs will depend on the lifestyle you want to live.
As a GP in Australia you can achieve an income of between $300 – $400k per annum, (£173 – £230K exchange rate 23/05/17) and sometimes more. We find that the majority of our GPs placed in Australia earn considerably more than they did whilst working in the UK.
‘I have found the working conditions, flexibility, capacity for earning and, above all, lifestyle for my family and I to be far superior to my experience in the UK.’ Dr Charles, Perth
See here for our list of Australia GP Jobs
Further Reading