is it cheaper to live in melbourne or sydney2

Is It Cheaper To Live In Melbourne Or Sydney?

One of the most costly cities to live in is Sydney. Melbourne isn't exactly inexpensive, but it's often thought to be less expensive than Sydney, Victoria.

You may be wondering how much you can expect to save in day-to-day expenses if you uproot your life and go to Chicago. Check out this infographic to learn about the primary price variations between Melbourne and Sydney.

Santa Fe Wridgways, a relocation service provider, commissioned Numbeo to create the infographic below using data submitted by its customers. It divides the typical cost of living in Sydney and Melbourne into housing, transportation, and food.

The biggest difference is in rent, with one-bedroom apartments in Sydney costing as much as $870 per month more than in other cities. In addition, groceries and alcohol cost slightly less for Melburnians, whereas the cost of fast food and restaurants is comparable in both areas.

The monthly cost of living in Melbourne might be reduced by hundreds of dollars when factoring in transportation, lodging, alcoholic beverages, and basic necessities. (And don't forget that Sydney has the worst traffic congestion in all of Australia.)

However, one should not judge a city solely by its cost of living. As the adage goes, "money can't buy happiness." Despite the astronomical cost of living, Mercer claims that Sydney is the finest place to live in Australia.

FAQs About Melbourne

Sydney wins. Sydney is the most spectacular city in Australia with amazing harbour views, better weather and picturesque beaches. Melbourne has many of the hippest and coolest suburbs in Oz, and on average most people live in suburbs of better standard than Sydney.

The cost of living in Melbourne (Australia) is 18% cheaper than in Sydney (Australia)

Average Salary in Melbourne

The average salary in Victoria is around A$75,000 as of 2016. Melbourne might have 5% to 10% lower salaries compared to Sydney, but the rent on average is 30% lower in Melbourne, which makes the difference.

There are more jobs in Sydney.

The job market is bigger, but the quality of work and 'talent' in Creative and Digital in Melbourne is not a small country town, not even close.

While Sydney is larger, with a population of 4,879,000, Melbourne is growing at a rate of 18% faster, meaning it will be Australia's largest city by 2050.

Sydney is one of the top cities to find jobs abroad in Australia. It has an exciting and busy downtown core and is also surrounded by the beautiful beaches and nature that Australia is famous for.

Port Macquarie has, according to the CSIRO, the best climate in Australia, with mild winters and gentle summers and water warm enough to swim in for most of the year.

Melbourne has more affordable property prices.

Although Melbourne is ranked as one of the world's most expensive cities to live in, compared with Sydney, it offers much better value in terms of property. With housing and office space in Sydney in such high demand, property rates are exorbitantly high.

Melbourne vs Sydney- which one is a better place to live?

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For the sixth year in a row, Melbourne has been named the most liveable city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Melbourne, a contemporary metropolis with an old-world appeal, is home to citizens of well over a hundred different countries. Its citizens benefit from unparalleled infrastructure and leadership, making it the second most popular hotspot for property investments in Australia after Sydney. Sydney continues to win the hearts of millions of people with its abundance of well-paying jobs in the entertainment industry, top-of-the-range salaries, and exclusive real estate options. For the privileged few!

Australia's two most populous cities, Melbourne and Sydneyspan data-preserver-spaces="true"> - Choosing a neighbourhood in Australia to purchase a "modest" home in can be challenging. For those looking to buy a home, the current median price in Sydney is roughly $950,000. Nearly $200,000 can be saved on a home purchase by purchasing one in Melbourne instead of Sydney.

Undeniably, prices in Sydney can be over the roof. Melbourne's typical apartment price is around $450,000, making it a competitive option in a country where apartment living is on the rise.

So, what would you choose?

Buying your home sweet home is only the first step in climbing the property ladder. Truly owning your home means ensuring you can service your home loan and probably pay it off much before its scheduled term. 

Thus, before choosing which city to bunk in, compare the cost of living and budget your expenditure to ensure you can afford the choices you make.

Cost of living in Melbourne vs. Sydney

It has been calculated by Expatistan, an online cost of living calculator, that living in Melbourne is almost 5% cheaper than in Sydney. Melbourne is around 4% less expensive than Sydney as a vacation destination.

In other words, while Sydney's salary potential is substantially higher, so are the costs associated with commuting to and from Harbour City.

You're looking to buy a house soon, but you know that the best deals are in the farthest flung suburbs, where getting there would be a major hassle and expense.

Cost of servicing your home loan

For around $750,000 now, you could purchase a home in Melbourne or an apartment in Sydney's outer suburbs. Current average mortgage rates in Sydney and Melbourne are very close at 5.61% and 5.56%, respectively.

With a down payment of roughly $20,000 and a monthly payment of about $2,800 (loan of $450,000 for 25 years), you may buy a home in Sydney or Melbourne with some savings in the two cities.

However, it can be challenging to fulfil your monthly repayments in Sydney due to the city's higher living expenditures unless you've carefully planned your budget. Here is a simple calculator to help you figure out your finances.

In Sydney or Melbourne, the cost of owning a plot of land (of varying sizes) is comparable. Therefore, it may be prudent to shop around for a mortgage that offers terms that are favourable to borrowers while still providing an attractive interest rate.

Brokers have access to a variety of products and discounts from a wide range of lenders, allowing them to provide you with the lowest prices on the market.

Despite the fact that Australia is home to many wonderful cities, homebuyers usually only consider two: Sydney and Melbourne.

Sydney is the largest city in Australia, and it is famous for its stunning buildings, multicultural population, and high quality of life. On the other hand, Melbourne is often cited as Australia's "culture capital" due to the city's prominence in the arts.

What's a person to do when there are so many positive aspects of both options? Figures from the online database Numbeo may be useful if price is the deciding factor.

Shopping, coffee and cabs

When compared side by side, the cities are extremely close. For example, the cost of a summer outfit from a chain store, a pair of men's leather shoes, a McDonald's meal, a coke, and a cappuccino, all have the same general range throughout cities.

Of course, this doesn't always translate to reasonable prices; for example, a summer dress in Melbourne or Sydney will cost you a lot more than the same style in Chicago, London, or San Francisco.

Tickets to the movies cost $20 and dinner for two at a nice restaurant costs $80 in both cities.

The cost of transportation between cities is another factor. Melbourne's $4.20 base fare is a bit more than Sydney's $3.60 base fare. However, in Sydney, a 1 kilometre cab ride or an hour of waiting time will cost you more.

Compared to Melbourne, the cost of a one-way local transit ticket in Sydney is $4, only 10 cents more expensive; however, a monthly pass in Sydney costs $160.00, which is a difference of $21.40. A gallon of gas costs about $1.26, while a brand-new Volkswagen Golf 1.4 costs about $24,745.

Housing, utilities put Sydney ahead.

Despite this, Sydney is still pricier than Melbourne in some notable aspects — namely housing. For instance, when it comes to renting:

Meanwhile, if you want to buy an apartment:

This is even though the average yearly mortgage interest rate is around the same level in both cities (4.62 per cent in Sydney versus 4.56 per cent in Melbourne). This shows the importance of carrying out a home loan comparison to get the most favourable deal possible. 

If this wasn’t enough, Melburnians also enjoy cheaper utilities, paying a total of $157.50 for electricity, water, heating and waste disposal for an 85 square metre apartment. Sydneysiders pay $170.48.

Despite salaries, Harbour City stays expensive.

This data is only marginally offset because those in Harbour City earn a higher income on average ($4,580.83) than Melburnians ($4,412.98). This more than $100 difference is not likely to be very much comfortable to the average Sydney resident, however.

According to Numbeo, Sydney’s cost of living index — which measures how expensive it is to live in a city — ranks significantly higher than Melbourne's. Sydney’s cost of living is currently slightly lower than those of London and Chicago and just slightly higher than those of Paris and Santa Cruz. Melbourne’s current cost of living is similar to that of Oxford in the UK or Calgary in Canada.

So, based on this data, it seems Melbourne edges out Sydney in terms of affordability. It may be something to consider before committing to any mortgage in the future. 

The Cost of Living in Sydney

If you are thinking of moving to Australia’s most populous city, you might be growing curious about the cost of living in Sydney.

It may be a beautiful city with spectacular views and sights to indulge in. Still, it’s not only known as the most expensive metropolis to live in Australia but also one of the most expensive in the world. 

This thought might not stop you. However, a Sydney lifestyle is one many have sought after, and even if you try it out while you are a single person or a student, the experience is bound to instil lifelong memories.

While Sydney’s persona is not everyone, you may need to relocate there for family, work, or study – we have broken down the budget basics, so you know what to expect cost-wise to plan!

Overview of living expenses in Sydney

We've popped a quick price guide below the basics, based on a budget for one person living in an inner-city Sydney apartment. 

If you want to reduce costs, moving further out from the CBD, things become less expensive. There are vast differences in accommodation costs spanning east to west and north to south of the CBD. It's practical understanding that accommodation will be your biggest expense, and where you need to spend most of your time in proximity to where you live will impact how much time you spend travelling.

Rent for 1-bedroom inner-city Sydney apartment

  • $2558.71 per month


  • $182.48 per month

Internet (60Mbps or more, unlimited data, Cable/ADSL)

  •  $71.49per month

Mobile phone data (one-minute local prepaid mobile tariff call with no plan or discount)

  • $0.78 per month

Groceries/Food and drink

  • $560.00 - $600.00 per month


  • Public transport (trains, light rail, buses and ferries)
  • $217.36 for a monthly ticket


  • $1.32 per litre av.

Buying a new car (the equivalent of a Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90KW Trendline)

  • $28,990.00

Dining out for dinner

  • Mid-range restaurant $25.00
  • High-end restaurant $50.00

The average salary in Sydney

You can expect, due to the expense of living in Sydney, that average net salaries (before tax) are a bit higher than in some of the other cities. If you are moving to Sydney for a full-time job, your salary may fall somewhere around the average mark per month.

Housing & Rent

Roughly, if you are single, you should budget around $1,000.00 per month for rent, or if you are a couple, your monthly costs for rent could be around $2,600.00.

Inner-city rents are much higher than the outer suburbs, except the eastern suburbs. If you are looking to rent in the inner city, you can expect to pay around:

Living arrangement and Average weekly rent

  • Share-house - $352.00
  • Serviced apartment - $370.00
  • One-bedroom apartment - $815.00
  • Student home-stay (with a host family including most meals) - $320.00

Outer suburbs become considerably cheaper, particularly the more south and west of Sydney city you go. However, you may need to consider transport and accessibility if you need to work or study in the CBD. Depending on your circumstances and the area you move to, you can expect to pay:

  • Share-house (depending on how many bedrooms and which area) - $317.00
  • One-bedroom unit - $540.00

Rent for a family of two adults and at least one child can be up to $600.00 - $700.00 per week for a relatively new basic 2-bedroom apartment in a middle-class suburb (older apartments can range from $30.00 - $100.00 per week cheaper).

Examples include:

  • Rhodes and Meadowbank (approx. $600.00 per week)
  • Burwood (approx. $650.00 per week)
  • St Leonards (approx. $700.00 per week)
  • If you are more ambitious and wish to put some permanency into your move, you can buy an apartment in the city centre for around $13689.96 (per square metre) or outside the city centre for $8748.00 (per square metre).


is it cheaper to live in melbourne or sydney

The core element of comfortable living is the necessity for heating and power, and in Sydney, the average cost of electricity is around $182.48 per month.

In this day and age, mobile phones and the internet are also considered a necessity of communication. In Sydney, an internet plan (for 60Mbps or more, unlimited data, Cable/ADSL) can cost on average $71.49/month and mobile phone data on a local prepaid call with no plan or discount will cost about $0.78 for less than a minute.


Public Transport relies on the Opal Card, which travels on trains, light rail, buses, and ferries. On Sunday, public transport is charged at a flat rate of $2.70 no matter how far you travel.

The average cost of a one-way ticket on local transport is $4.00, and the regular price of a monthly pass is $217.39. If you drive a lot, the average fuel cost is $1.32 per litre. If you want to buy a new car when you get to Sydney, you are looking at around $28990.00 (based on a Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90KW Trendline (or equivalent).

The Cost of Living in Melbourne

It is one of the largest and most sought-after ways of life in Australia's urban centres. Can you afford the expense of living in Melbourne to have the best possible lifestyle experience, with all the best food, culture, art, history, and environment at your fingertips?

Can you afford the culture of Melbourne?

Melbourne is formed out of the natural environment at the very bottom of mainland eastern Australia, with the great Yarra River winding from the rocky hills of the Yarra Ranges National Park, twisting its way through one of Australia's major cities to pour into the harbour of Port Phillip Bay.

It is one of the largest and most sought-after ways of life in Australia's urban centres. Can you afford the expense of living in Melbourne to have the best possible lifestyle experience, with all the best food, culture, art, history, and environment at your fingertips?

Although some of Melbourne's inner neighbourhoods may have exorbitant home prices, there are plenty of affordable rental options available around the city. Or you may find the ideal lifestyle a little ways out of the city that yet has all the advantages of "Melbourne" while providing a more reasonable cost of living.

We break down the costs of living in Melbourne so you can determine how much you'll need to cover weekly expenses based on your own personal living index.

Overview of living expenses in Melbourne

Living Expense and Av. cost OR Av. cost per month: 

  • Rent for 1-bedroom Melbourne apartment in the city centre - $1756.48
  • Rent for 3-bedroom Melbourne apartment in the city centre - $3329.17
  • Rent for 1-bedroom suburban/regional Melbourne apartment - $1416.11
  • Rent for 3-bedroom suburban/regional Melbourne apartment - $2288.14
  • Electricity/heating/water/garbage (85 m2 apartment) - $203.66 approx.
  • Internet (60Mbps or more, unlimited data, Cable/ADSL) - $70.56
  • Mobile phone data (one-minute local prepaid mobile tariff call with no plan or discount) - $0.20
  • Public Transport One-Way Ticket (average across all transport options) - $4.50
  • Public Transport Monthly Ticket (average across all transport options) - $156.00
  • Fuel (per litre) - $1.33
  • Buying a new car (equivalent of a Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90KW Trendline) - $27000.00
  • Basic groceries per person - $612.00
  • Breakfast in a cafe (not including coffee) - $10.00 - $15.00
  • Lunch in a cafe or restaurant (per person including drink) - $15.00 - $20.00


The average salary in Melbourne

In Melbourne, the average nett wage (after taxes) is roughly the same as the average nett salary in the rest of Australia. Still, it's counterbalanced by Melbourne's greater cost of living compared to other major cities.

The average monthly salary in Melbourne is $5028.73, which is higher than the national average of $4843.42. You must now calculate how much of your salary you will need to spend in order to maintain a comfortable standard of life in a city whose prices are among the highest in Australia and the world.

Housing and rent

Accommodation is generally the largest budget for everyone, professionals, families, students and international students alike! In any location, our lifestyle is underpinned by where and how we live. 

As with any city, the closer you get to the central business district, the higher the price tag. We have the averages below to help give you an idea of what you may expect to pay for accommodation in Melbourne:

Type of accommodation and Av. cost/month

  • Rent for 1-bedroom Melbourne apartment in the city centre - $1756.48
  • Rent for 3-bedroom Melbourne apartment in the city centre - $3329.17
  • Rent for 1-bedroom suburban/regional Melbourne apartment - $1416.11
  • Rent for 3-bedroom suburban/regional Melbourne apartment - $2288.14

The sum total of your monthly expenses in Melbourne will be set by the level of luxury you demand. Monthly rent will be higher the closer you are to the central business district (CBD), as it always is in any city, but you may be able to make up the difference in other ways, such as by reducing your reliance on public transportation.

Rent is also higher in coastal neighbourhoods like St. Kilda and Brighton, because of the high demand for properties in those areas.

Thankfully, many Melbourne suburbs have a less frenetic atmosphere while still being densely populated enough to offer a wide variety of culinary, environmental, and cultural opportunities.

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