Cost of Living in Australia

Cost of Living in Australia

Comparing the cost of living in Australia is not very straightforward

Some people say that it is more expensive to live in Australia than it is in the UK, but others say it is cheaper, and they are probably both right, in their own ways.

If you move from a cheaper area of the UK to the centre of Sydney, for example, you may well notice that things are much more expensive.

However, if you move from Central London, to a cheaper area of Australia, you will find almost everything so much cheaper.

People like to look at specifics. But then, which specifics are relevant to YOU ?

The price of Strawberries varies from $4 per kg to $12 per kg, at the height of the Strawberry season here, depending purely on your location in Australia.

Bread ? you can pay between $1.00 and $4.00 for decent white sliced 700 gm loaf, depending on which shop you use.

Meat ? You could easily pay $20 kg at the supermarkets for Rump Steak, but I avoid supermarkets, and pay about $6 kg for budget rump, and about $12 kg for a good Eye Fillet.

A new arrival to Australia will tend to pay higher prices than a local, mainly due to the local knowing where and when the best buys are. But that also applies to almost every country in the world.

I have been here for some years now, and feel happy that I know where to buy things…

Australian Bureau of Statistics Shopping basket

The ABS recently published some figures, to compare prices between the main Australian Cities

The ‘shopping basket’ of Fresh fruit and vegetables was:

  • Oranges (1kg)
  • Bananas (1kg)
  • Potatoes (1kg)
  • Tomatoes (1kg)
  • Carrots (1kg)
  • Onions (1kg)

The prices, for that basket of items, were shown as:

  • $16.70 Brisbane
  • $17.93 Sydney
  • $18.52 Melbourne
  • $18.58 Hobart
  • $18.94 Adelaide
  • $19.47 Perth
  • $19.77 Canberra
  • $23.52 Darwin


  • $8.81 at my Local fruit store…………

Australian Cost of Living Statistics

Data from the Mercer Human Resource Consulting World Wide Cost of Living Rankings

Mercers survey covers 143 cities across six continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.
It is the worlds most comprehensive cost of living survey and is used to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees.

Two main factors determine a city’s ranking in Mercer’s Cost of Living survey:

  1. the relative strength or weakness of the relevant currency against the US dollar over the prior 12 months; and
  2. price movements over the prior 12 months compared to those in New York City as the base.

I am not sure if these figures work correctly for people paid in local salaries.

Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey 2015

  • 12 London, United Kingdom
  • 31 Sydney, Australia
  • 47 Melbourne, Australia
  • 48 Perth, Australia
  • 65 Canberra, Australia
  • 66 Brisbane, Australia
  • 71 Adelaide, Australia
  • 80 Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • 82 Aberdeen, United Kingdom
  • 109 Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • 119 Vancouver, Canada
  • 126 Toronto, Canada
  • 127 Belfast, United Kingdom
  • 140 Montreal, Canada
  • 146 Calgary, Canada
  • 162 Ottawa, Canada

Mercer worldwide cost of living survey: 2011

Top 5 cities – 2011 worldwide cost of living survey.

  1. Luanda, Angola (1st)
  2. Tokyo, Japan (2nd)
  3. N’Djamena, Chad (3rd)
  4. Moscow, Russia (4th)
  5. Geneva, Switzerland (5th)

Luanda in Angola is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates; Karachi is the cheapest, London drops 1 place to rank 18, Aberdeen is 144, Glasgow 148, Birmingham 150 and Belfast 178. The Australian Cities were ranked at: Sydney 14, Melbourne 21, Perth 30, Brisbane 31, Canberra 34 and Adelaide 46.

Mercer worldwide cost of living survey: 2010

For the first time, the ranking of the world’s top 10 most expensive cities includes three African urban centres: Luanda (1) in Angola, Ndjamena (3) in Chad and Libreville (7) in Gabon.
London 17, Belfast 182.
Australian Cities were ranked at: Sydney 24, Melbourne 33, Perth 60, Brisbane 55, Canberra 74 and Adelaide 90.

 Mercer worldwide cost of living survey: 2009

1 Tokyo, Japan
2 Osaka, Japan
3 Moscow, Russia
4 Geneva, Switzerland
5 Hong Kong, Hong Kong
16 London, UK
Australian Cities are all outside the top 50 ranking

 Mercer worldwide cost of living survey: 2008

1 Moscow, Russia
2 Tokyo, Japan
3 London, UK
4 Oslo, Norway
5 Hong Kong, Hong Kong

 Mercer worldwide cost of living survey: 2007

UK Cities are Ranked:

  • 2nd London,
  • 36th Glasgow,
  • 41st Birmingham,

Australian Cities are ranked:

  • 21st Sydney,
  • 60th Melbourne,
  • 4th Perth,
  • 86th Brisbane,
  • 96th Adelaide,

Globally, Moscow is the worlds most expensive city for expatriates for the second consecutive year. London is in second position, climbing three places since last year.



Mercer worldwide cost of living survey: 2006

UK Cities rankings for 2006:

  • 5th London,
  • 60th Glasgow,
  • 69th Birmingham,

Australian Cities rankings for 2006:

  • 19th Sydney,
  • 74th Melbourne,
  • 93rd Perth,
  • 99th Brisbane,
  • 108th Adelaide,

Moscow has replaced Tokyo as the worlds most expensive city, according to the latest Cost of Living Survey from Mercer Human Resource Consulting.


 Mercer worldwide cost of living survey: 2005

World Wide Cost of Living Rankings 2005

UK Cities rankings for 2005:

  • 3rd London,
  • 40th Glasgow,
  • 47th Birmingham,

Australian Cities rankings for 2005:

  • 20th Sydney,
  • 68th Melbourne,
  • 84th Brisbane,
  • 89th Adelaide,
  • 93rd Perth,

The 1st place for 2005 went to Tokyo, Japan, with it being selected as the most expensive city in the world to live in.

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