Cost of living comparison
A month’s rent is $2,195 cheaper in Hobart than Sydney. Find out how else the cost of living differs between states.
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
Ever wondered how much money you could save by living in a different city to the one you're currently in? We've broken down the main costs of living in the major cities across Australia, from housing and food to transport, and provided estimates of how much you're likely to pay.
Housing cost of living comparison
The most expensive place for housing in Australia is Sydney. Including utilities, it's almost double (47%) the cost of Melbourne, which is the second priciest city. Monthly rent in a 2 bedroom apartment* is likely to cost you around $650 more a month in Sydney than in Melbourne. That increases to $1,613 if you want to live in an expensive area. Utilities, including your gas, electricity and water, are $138 more expensive a month and even Internet is on average $26 cheaper in Melbourne.
The cheapest major city for housing in Australia is Adelaide. Overall, it's 60% less expensive than in Sydney with rent being on average $1,149 cheaper a month. Almost all of the money you save is down to cheap rent though because utilities, Internet and other household goods in Adelaide are among the most expensive in Australia.
Most expensive cities for housing
The most expensive major city for housing and utilities is Sydney. To give you a comparison of how much more it is, check out how it compares to the other big cities in Australia:
- It's 47% more expensive than in Melbourne
- It's 50% more expensive than in Perth
- It's 53% more expensive than in Hobart
- It's 58% more expensive than in Brisbane
- It's 60% more expensive than in Adelaide
|Monthly rent for 85m2 furnished accommodation in an expensive area||$4,430||$2,817||$3,018||$2,235||$2,498||$2,235||$2,560|
|Monthly rent for 85m2 furnished accommodation in a normal area||$2,794||$2,147||$1,658||$1,759||$1,645||$1,684||$1,691|
|Utilities (1 month) for 2 people in 85m2 flat||$350||$242||$213||$191||$247||$176||$302|
|Monthly rent for a 45m2 furnished studio in an expensive area||$2,647||$1,809||$1,670||$1,733||$1,426||$1,932||$1,946|
|Monthly rent for a 45m2 furnished studio in a normal area||$1,873||$1,422||$1,279||$1,568||$1,060||$1,253||$1,441|
|Utilities (1 month) for 1 person in a 45m2 studio||$297||$159||$108||$129||$171||$215||$211|
|Internet 8 mbps (1 month)||$70||$44||$61||$57||$64||$65||$58|
|40" flat screen TV||$554||$347||$510||$635||$666||$639||$717|
|Microwave 800/900 watt||$195||$239||$188||$224||$228||$214||$205|
|Laundry detergent (100 oz.)||$20||$8||$10||$13||$9||$13||$13|
|Hourly rate for cleaning help||$36||$28||$27||$28||$26||$26||$29|
Food cost of living comparison
Brisbane is the most expensive city for food in Australia. On average, it's 10% more expensive than Sydney and Melbourne, and 4% more expensive than Perth, which comes in second place. With that being said, the price of food across the country doesn't vary anywhere near as much as housing and rental prices. In most cities, there's very little difference overall. For example, there's a 22c difference between the most expensive city for milk (Sydney) and the cheapest (Hobart).
Most expensive cities for food
Here's a ranked list of the most expensive major cities for food.
- Brisbane. Food is around 10% more expensive in Brisbane than in other major cities
- Perth. Food in Perth is 4% cheaper than in Brisbane.
- Hobart. Food in Hobart is 7% cheaper than in Brisbane.
- Sydney/Melbourne. Food in Sydney and Melbourne costs around the same and is 10% cheaper than in Brisbane.
- Adelaide. Food in Adelaide is 11% cheaper than in Brisbane.
- Darwin. Food in Darwin is about the same as in Brisbane.
|Basic lunch (including drink) in the business district||$18||$19||$21||$18||$21||$17|
|500 g of boneless chicken breast||$5.27||$7||$6||$4.76||$5.31||$5.53|
|1 litre of milk||$1.47||$1.37||$1.35||$1.47||$1.29||$1.24|
|12 large eggs||$5.03||$5.85||$7||$4.84||$4.98||$5.83|
|1 kg of tomatoes||$4.84||$5.21||$5.56||$4.63||$5.92||$4.88|
|0.5 litre domestic beer in the supermarket||$5.85||$5.63||$5.80||$5.46||$5.51||$4.44|
|Bread for 2 people for 1 day||$2.67||$2.44||$2.27||$2.67||$2.34||$2.76|
Transport cost of living comparison
Sydney is also the most expensive city for transport. Public transport in the country's most populated city is more expensive than in Melbourne by nearly a third (31%) and you'll pay about 17% more for a taxi. There's only a 2c difference between fuel in Sydney and Melbourne but the same car, simply bought in different cities, is likely to cost you over $1,000 more.
Brisbane and Hobart are much cheaper, particularly when it comes to public transport. They're 125% and 162% cheaper than in Sydney. You can get around both cities via public transport for less than $100 a month, which puts Sydney's staggering $211 bill into perspective.
Cheapest cities for transport
- Hobart. Tasmania's capital is on average the cheapest major city in Australia when it comes to transport. It's on average half the price of Sydney.
- Brisbane. Transport is approximately 42% cheaper than Sydney.
- Adelaide. Transport costs 37% less than in Sydney.
- Perth. Transportation costs are on average 27% cheaper than in Sydney and 9% less than in Melbourne.
- Melbourne. Transport in Victoria's capital is about 20% less than in Sydney.
- Sydney. Last by quite a long way, Sydney is the most expensive city for all types of transport.
- Darwin. Transportation in Darwin is 50% cheaper than in Sydney.
|New Volkswagen golf 1.4 tsi (or equivalent)||$28,543||$27,230||$31,651||$30,863||$28,162||$25,789||$31,135|
|1 litre (1/4 gallon) of fuel||$1.43||$1.41||$1.33||$1.43||$1.41||$1.46||$1.46|
|Monthly ticket public transport||$211||$161||$139||$94||$113||$81||$74|
|Taxi trip on a business day, 8 km||$25||$21||$19||$28||$22||$21||$21|
Overall cost of living comparison
The table below gives you an idea of the differences between the overall costs of living in Australia's state capital cities. Sydney is still the most expensive city in Australia — you'll pay around a quarter more for living expenses in Sydney than if you lived in Melbourne or Perth, and even more if you stayed in Brisbane, Adelaide or Hobart.
The overall costs of living in Melbourne and Perth are very similar. According to the stats, Hobart is marginally the cheapest capital city to live in, followed closely by Adelaide.
|The cost of living in Sydney is||26% more expensive than in Melbourne||25% more expensive than in Perth||32% more expensive than in Brisbane||37% more expensive than in Adelaide||39% more expensive than in Hobart|
|The cost of living in Melbourne is||21% cheaper than in Sydney||About the same as in Perth||5% more expensive than in Brisbane||9% more expensive than in Adelaide||10% more expensive than in Hobart|
|The cost of living in Perth is||20% cheaper than in Sydney||About the same as in Melbourne||6% more expensive than in Brisbane||10% more expensive than in Adelaide||11% more expensive than in Hobart|
|The cost of living in Brisbane is||24% cheaper than in Sydney||5% cheaper than in Melbourne||5% cheaper than in Perth||About the same as in Adelaide||5% more expensive than in Hobart|
|The cost of living in Adelaide is||27% cheaper than in Sydney||8% cheaper than in Melbourne||About the same as in Brisbane||9% cheaper than in Perth||About the same as in Hobart|
|The cost of living in Hobart is||28% cheaper than in Sydney||9% cheaper than in Melbourne||5% cheaper than in Brisbane||About the same as in Adelaide||10% cheaper than in Perth|
|The cost of living in Darwin is||24% cheaper than in Sydney||5% cheaper than in Melbourne||About the same as in Brisbane||7% more expensive than in Adelaide||4% cheaper than in Perth|
More guides on Finder
Income protection for single parents
Find out why you need income protection if you’re a single parent.
Is income protection worth it for students?
Find out how students can benefit from income protection insurance.
Income protection for builders
The ins and outs of income protection insurance for builders.
Income protection lump sum payout
Everything you need to know about income protection lump sum payouts.
Income protection statistics
The stats behind what Aussies know about income protection insurance.
Best air compressors in Australia
Here are the top air compressors you can buy in Australia right now.
Crowne Plaza Adelaide hotel review
Is the Crowne Plaza Adelaide a good place to stay? Find out in Finder's review.
7 best power stations in Australia 2021: Portable batteries
What is the best portable power station you can buy in Australia? Here’s how to choose the right battery pack for your next camping or four-wheel driving trip.
The expenses preventing Aussie households from saving
Food, utility bills and eating out are the top expenses preventing Australians from building wealth. Find out how to boost your income and cut your expenses.
Finder RBA Survey: Mortgage borrowing to keep surging as cash rate holds at 0.10%
Home loan borrowing could surpass current levels within the next six months, despite riding a record-breaking high since October, according to experts.
Ask an Expert