Sydney is one of the world's most iconic cities, host to beautiful landmarks, breathtaking natural beauty and a cosmopolitan and diverse population. The cost of living in Sydney is the most expensive in the country. 

As the 56th most expensive city for expats to live in out of the 227 on Mercer's 2023 Cost of Living Survey, the Emerald City's accommodation prices are about one-third higher than in Melbourne, while the overall cost of living is estimated to be 7 percent higher.

Sydney may be the priciest and most populous city in Australia, but for price-conscious expats, there are plenty of ways to stretch their Aussie dollars.

Cost of accommodation in Sydney

Accommodation in Sydney is typically an expat's greatest expense, particularly in the more attractive areas and suburbs and around the city centre. Expats who want to save on housing expenses should search for a home further out in the suburbs.

Expats will also typically have to factor in the cost of utilities, as this is usually separated from the rental cost. Utilities that are for the tenant's account usually include, electricity, water and gas. Electricity may be costly during the hot summer months when air conditioning is necessary. 

Cost of public transport in Sydney

Public transport in Sydney is well-+developed, making it cheap and convenient to get around the city without a car, though a private vehicle might afford expats more freedom to explore the country. With an Opal card, expats can use the city's integrated infrastructure and make savings on their commute.

Cost of groceries in Sydney

The cost of groceries in Sydney is in line with the national average, and Australian produce is high quality. Seafood lovers should head to the Sydney Fish Market, the largest fish market in the Southern Hemisphere, for inexpensive and fresh fish.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Sydney

Many expats cite the lifestyle as a key draw for Sydney. Expats on a budget should consult a local about the best places to get an affordable bite to eat. Alternatively, they can take advantage of Sydney's wide spread of world-renowned fine-dining establishments. Thanks to the variety of options available in Sydney, expats will not struggle to find something to match their palates and wallets. 

Expats looking to soak in some culture will visit the Sydney Opera House, while those looking to party will head to the myriad nightclubs at Kings Cross. Price-conscious expats can take advantage of the country's excellent climate, picnicking in the park, having a barbecue or visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Cost of education in Sydney

Public education in Sydney is free or cheap for permanent residents, though temporary residence holders will have to pay to enrol their kids.

Faith-based schools, especially the Catholic education system, are popular in Sydney. Expats on temporary residences tend to find the fees lower than those they would have to pay for public schools.

Cost of healthcare in Sydney

While healthcare in Sydney is world-class, it comes at a price for expats. Non-residents often grapple with considerable medical costs, which can eclipse those found in many other countries. Expats must be vigilant in securing comprehensive private health insurance to avoid substantial out-of-pocket expenses for medical treatments.

Australian citizens and permanent residents in Sydney enjoy the privileges of Medicare, the country's comprehensive public health system. This service significantly reduces healthcare expenses, offering considerable savings on medical appointments, hospital treatments and prescription medications. The funding for these services is largely drawn from the national tax system, which ensures that healthcare is both accessible and affordable for residents.

Cost of living in Sydney chart

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for November 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreAUD 6,900
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreAUD 4,100
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreAUD 3,300
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreAUD 2,400
Food and drink
Dozen eggsAUD 7
Milk (1 litre)AUD 1.91
Rice (1kg)AUD 3.94
Loaf of white breadAUD 4.17
Chicken breasts (1kg)AUD 7
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)AUD 40
Eating out
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantAUD 135
Big Mac MealAUD 15
Coca-Cola (330ml)AUD 3.94
CappuccinoAUD 5.01
Bottle of beer (local)AUD 5.66
Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)AUD 0.21
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)AUD 48
Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)AUD 209
Taxi rate/kmAUD 4
City-centre public transport fareAUD 5
Gasoline (per litre)AUD 2.15

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