East coast vs west coast – how the cost of living stacks up

Mark Bristow

Mark Bristow

( 4 min read )

Sydney has topped the charts measuring costs of living in the Oceania region, while Australia’s number two spot was taken by Perth. 

According to data aggregator Numbeo’s annual Cost of Living index, the NSW capital has the 32nd highest cost of living in the world, just above Montpellier in France and just below Stockholm in Sweden.

In the Oceania region, Sydney also outranked the most expensive cites in New Zealand, Hamilton and Auckland.

City Oceania rank World rank Cost of living index Rent index Cost of living plus rent index Groceries index Restaurant price index Local purchasing power index
Sydney, Australia 1 32 90.77 66.43 80.00 85.02 77.09 118.81
Hamilton, New Zealand 2 44 88.09 26.98 58.62 81.69 84.97 128.21
Auckland, New Zealand 3 52 86.93 46.95 67.65 79.21 72.26 99.37
Perth, Australia 4 56 86.24 40.50 64.18 80.79 90.63 130.38
Adelaide, Australia 5 58 86.02 36.56 62.17 82.05 81.67 113.86
Melbourne, Australia 6 64 85.15 44.81 65.70 82.11 77.29 127.15
Darwin, Australia 7 68 84.98 46.52 66.43 82.29 91.79 118.09
Cairns, Australia 8 69 84.98 30.59 58.75 84.50 74.96 118.05
Hobart, Australia 9 82 82.88 31.46 58.08 81.10 88.26 99.40
Brisbane, Australia 10 93 82.17 43.31 63.43 75.42 81.39 130.41

Sydney was found to be more expensive in almost all areas than the next-highest ranked Australian city, with only Perth’s restaurants proving pricier than Sydney’s.

One of the biggest contributors to Sydney’s high cost of living is real estate, with the costs of renting or buying property being significantly higher than those of the next highest-ranked Australian city of Perth:

Cost of living Sydney Perth
Rent 1BD (City) $2618.80 $1658.92
Rent 1BD (Outside city) $1921.12 $1252.76
Rent 3BD (City) $4635.11 $2613.89
Rent 1BD (Outside city) $3096.83 $1748.56
Price per square metre to buy apartment in city centre $13,206.39 $5989.54
Price per square metre to buy apartment outside of city centre $8441.13 $4729.17

 Other cost of living finding from Numbeo include:

  • Sydney may be the most expensive city in the world to be a smoker, with the 1st Most Expensive Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro) in the World (out of 371 cities).
  • Perth may be the most expensive city in the region to enjoy a drink while dining out, with the 1st Most Expensive Domestic Beer (0.5 litre draught), Restaurants in Oceania (out of 13 cities).
  • Adelaide may be the most expensive city in the region to have a soft drink while dining out, with the 1st Most Expensive Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle), Restaurants in Oceania (out of 13 cities).
  • Darwin may be the most expensive city in the region when it comes to eating out cheaply, with the 1st Most Expensive Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant, Restaurants in Oceania (out of 15 cities).
  • Cairns may be the least affordable city in the region for cheese aficionados, with the 1st Most Expensive Local Cheese (1kg), Markets in Oceania (out of 12 cities).
  • Hobart may be the most affordable city in the region for dairy enthusiasts, with the 1st Least Expensive Milk (regular), (1 litre), Markets in Oceania (out of 13 cities).
  • Brisbane may be the most affordable city in the region to grab something a bit fancy from the bottlo, with the 1st Least Expensive Imported Beer (0.33 litre bottle), Markets in Oceania (out of 9 cities).

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