Australia is fast gaining a reputation as an expensive place to live; it has a strong dollar, a very buoyant housing market and an economy that managed to avoid recession when the rest of the world was crashing. Bravo.
The booming mining industry in Western Australia, helped by China’s growing energy consumption is also playing a major role in fuelling the economy and pushing up property prices. Add to that the fact that Australia now boasts six of the world’s 30 most expensive cities to live, and you begin to get the picture. But beyond the headlines, what does this mean for people living and working there? When salary, disposable income and the all-important (yet all-too-difficult to define) “quality of life” are taken into account, not to mention regional variation, what is the price of living in Oz?
For a start, living and working somewhere is abundantly different to visiting; the exchange rate over the last few years has been enough to make even the flushest of holidaymakers blush at the bureau de change, but wages are higher to reflect that extra expense. The average salary is significantly higher than in the UK. In 2013, figures put the Mean annual UK wage at around £26,500 (AU$48,644), the equivalent figure in Australia is around AU$72,000, an increase of 48%. The average salary for IT jobs in Sydney, which you can find here http://www.ambition.com.au/it-jobs-in-sydney, for example, is a 20% increase on the equivalent in London. Even taking into account the difference in the cost of living, across all regions, this equates to more disposable income - kerching!
High Life in the City
Within the country itself, there is obviously much variation in price; the most expensive region is New South Wales, as you might guess. Sydney is now 11th on the list of the most expensive cities in the World, where a loaf of bread costs an average of over $3 and average property prices in the more exclusive neighbourhoods are as much as $2.9 million.
The rent on a 3 bedroomed apartment in Adelaide is on average, over 47% less than in Sydney, while the level of disposable income is just over 20% less than in Sydney, this demonstrates some of the benefit to digging a bit deeper to find out the real cost of living and what it means for anyone thinking of making the move to Australia. There are in excess of 500 suburbs or towns dotted all over Australia with a median weekly rent of $250 a week or less. When you consider that some of these are a stone’s throw from some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, that “quality of life” measure really comes into play.