“Is Sydney really that expensive?”
I get asked this question a lot from people all over the world. The high cost of living in Sydney is usually a deal-breaker for expats wanting to make the move to Australia. It was one of the reasons we almost didn’t make the move ourselves back in 2008.
Just doing some basic research on rents in Sydney is enough to change anyone’s mind. Then when you start to add in other daily expenses like groceries, utilities, and things like your mobile phone plan, it gets even scarier.
I’m guessing you have probably already read one of the many articles online that lists the most expensive cities in the world. Sydney is usually at around #10 on those lists. I know because I’ve read them too. It is often rated as more expensive than New York and London when one compares more than rents or mortgages.
Don't worry you won't be out on the street because you can't afford it. Why? Because you’re reading this post and, by the end, you’re going to have an idea about how much your rent in Sydney is going to be. For a breakdown of other expenses like groceries, clothes, and going out to eat, read my post on daily and monthly household expenses in Sydney.
Not only that but I’m also going to share some cost-saving tips to help you out along the way.
Cost of Living in Sydney: Weekly Rents
The bulk of your monthly cost of living is going to be your rent. For a one-bedroom apartment in Sydney plan on spending $450 to $550 a week minimum. Anything less and you're looking at a very small place that might work for you or a place that is bug-infested. Two-bedroom apartments start at about $650 a week minimum.
Below, there are two tables that list the median WEEKLY rents in Sydney from the NSW Family and Community Services Housing research that I’ve put together to help you out.
Yes, these are weekly rents, not monthly so don’t get too excited when you start looking at the tables. Also, be sure to read my tips for finding an apartment in Sydney afterwards.
Before I get to the rent tables, I wanted to cover a few things about renting in Sydney.
Don’t make this mistake when estimating your monthly rent.
Now be sure you don't make the mistake of estimating your monthly rent with this simple equation, $550 x 4 weeks = $2,200 monthly rent, because it is going to be more than that since there are 52 weeks in a year. This means you will need to first calculate your yearly rent, then divide by 12 for the monthly rent. Be sure you are sitting down when calculating your yearly rent.
Then there is your bond, aka rental deposit, for your apartment that is usually equal to one month's rent or more for fully furnished apartments.
That's a lot of money upfront just to move in. If you're working on the budget for your move then take a look at my post about saving up for your move to Sydney as there were a couple of shockers you need to plan for.
How much can you afford?
When we started looking we had our maximum price in mind, but then when we were actually there seeing what was available in our price range, we quickly raise it about $150 a week more. Just letting you know that this will probably happen to you. I have yet to meet an expat that didn't raise that initial max price. And yes, it is painful financially in the beginning, but once you start getting those first couple of paychecks, your finances will start to even out. Be sure to read about all the extra costs that will come up when you first move to Sydney in that post I linked to above.
As with every city, the area is linked to price. Beach or centrally located areas in Sydney are going to be more expensive than some places more out-of-the-way. This is one of the reasons I liked Neutral Bay and the Lower North Shore because it was less expensive (except for Kirribilli) and really not that much farther away from the city. Besides, commuting to work every day by ferry was like taking a Sydney Harbour Cruise on my way to work. Highly recommended.
Before you arrive in Sydney, familiarize yourself with the different suburbs and median weekly rents to see where you and your budget fit in. Doing this before you arrive will cut down on time and heartbreak when you finally start viewing apartments.
Just to warn you, I haven't heard any good things about using Gumtree for finding flatmates. In fact just the opposite. I’ve had several girlfriends looking for flatmates with Gumtree and they have all gotten creepy emails from complete strangers. Please be careful Ladies!
Other expenses you need to know about when renting in Sydney.
Most likely you will also need to purchase a refrigerator, a washing machine, and a dryer for your new apartment.
Apartments in Sydney that are not fully furnished do not include a fridge or washer/dryer. So add that to your budgeting for your new apartment. You can find second-hand items on Gumtree but the sellers most likely will not deliver. In that case, you will need to hire someone to pick it up from the seller's location and delivery it to you.
Airtasker is my new favorite love for deliveries of almost anything, not just Gumtree purchases. They are by far the least expensive of all the options out there. In fact, Airtasker has gotten so popular for pickups and deliveries that they now have a dedicated section of their site just for deliveries. Highly recommend checking it out.
Another option is Betta Home Living where you can find everything you would ever need for your new apartment plus they deliver for free for orders $75 and more, easy to do when you're ordering more than one appliance. Not bad just make sure you're home when they deliver. You can also ask about delivery times with their live chat on their website.
Furnishing Your Apartment On A Budget
The best way to furnish your apartment on a budget is Gumtree, the site mentioned above. To make running around the city picking up things you're buying on Gumtree easier sign up for one of the car share sites. Many of the car shares now have vans and trucks available through the city, or you can reserve one to pick up it up in your neighbourhood. Again going long distances with a car share is not the best budget idea because of the cost of petrol but it's great for getting around the city especially if you just want to pick up a few things on Gumtree.
For online shopping for furniture and home decor try Zanui, Brosa (one of my favourites), or LivingStyles. LivingStyles is more bargain shopping similar to Wayfair back in the States, whereas Zanui and Brosa are more expensive.
If you're after kitchenware, cookware, or anything else you'll need to re-stock your kitchen, try Cookware Brands, good quality products from well-known brands and they are always having some sort of sale or promotion going on.
There are also two Ikeas in the city. Or make a trip to the SupaCenta just past Moore Park. There you will find a Freedom (yes, that's the name of a furniture store), Fantastic Furniture (a very cheap furniture store) and Harvey Norman plus many other furniture shops.
Ok, on to weekly median rents in Sydney.
Cost of Living in Sydney: Table of Median Weekly Rents by Local Government Areas
Median weekly rents listed in both tables below are for both apartments and houses combined. I chose not to list rents for apartments and houses separately because it would end up being a very long post. If this is something you are interested in then let me know in the comments and, if there is enough interest, I will break up the weekly rents and add two separate posts, one for apartments and one for houses.
Local Government Areas Median Weekly Rents in Sydney
Cost of Living in Sydney: Table of Median Weekly Rents by Sydney Suburb
For the table below of individual suburbs rents in Sydney, I didn't include every suburb. If you want that info or the median rental price of a suburb in Sydney not listed below then leave a comment and I’ll add it to the table. Deal?
I did start the process of adding in more suburbs but, well, there’s a lot of suburbs in Sydney and I want to get this article posted asap.
Sydney Suburb Median Weekly Rents
International Moving Companies Near You
What are you taking to Australia when you move? Do you know yet?
The truth is you don’t need to know right now, for sure, what’s going with you.
But you do have to get a shipping quote ASAP, especially now.
Why? Because international moving companies need to schedule your move to Australia far in advance, some ask for 6 months in advance. Yes, COVID has changed everything, including international shipping.
When filling out the form below…
- You don’t need a street address for where you’re moving to, only the city and country. What they really want to know is the main shipping port.
- Moving date is an estimate. You don’t need exact dates right now. Go with your best guess.
- Estimate volume is an estimate. Don’t bother with calculating your volume. Use one of the estimates below for your estimated volume.
- Studio or 1 Bedroom —> 20 m3
- 2 Bedroom —> 25 m3
- 3 Bedroom —> 30 m3
- 4 Bedroom or 3 Bedroom + Car —> 50 m3
- Use your “real” contact details for BOTH phone and email. Yes, the form is secure. If you don’t use your real contact details, then they can’t get in touch with you for your quote. Makes sense, right?