People all around the world often harbour the dream of moving to start a new life in Australia. For some, it’s the need to escape a dreary 9 to 5, or a cold climate that makes Australia an expat hub. For others, it is the desire to make a fresh start on a continent known for sun, sand and surf.
In 2018, Australia continues to be an attractive destination for expats from across the globe seeking all the above Down Under, particularly Germans.
Not only can the temperature be around 26 degrees warmer in parts of Australia compared to Germany, but according to Expatistan, the cost of living in Australia is 26% more expensive than in Germany too. While there is a higher cost of living, a move to Australia will allow you to earn more while exploring the Asia Pacific region. With the average monthly salary in Sydney coming in at approximately A$5,141 according to Numbeo, a move Down Under looks very attractive when compared with an average salary of approximately A$3,139 in Berlin – an almost 64% increase when working in Sydney compared to Berlin.
So let’s look at the cost of living in Australia for a German expat:
Australia versus German Cost of Living Survey:
Germany is currently ranked in 26th position in a 2018 Numbeo cost of living survey, with an index of 52.51 for cost of living which is for things like groceries, restaurants, transport costs plus accommodation costs like rent or a mortgage. Australia is ranked in 13th position at 63.83 in the same survey, meaning the cost of living in Australia for a German expat is over 21% higher.
Another unit this survey measured was purchasing power in a given city for the average wage. Here Australia was an attractive 122.98 over 100. This indicates that domestic people in Australia can buy almost 23% more goods and services on their salary than the average wage in that country. Compared to Germany, which was ranked at having a slightly higher purchasing power of 125.01, indicating only a 1.65% difference between the two countries. Good news for anyone moving to Australia from Germany.
Where to live in Australia
When planning a move to Australia, professional expats are often drawn to the four largest cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth. In 2018 Mercer published a survey that ranked the 39 factors that made a city most desirable to expats. The results ranked the top 21 cities in the world, and the top 5 in each region, based on quality of life.
Three of Australia’s biggest cities were featured in the list for the world’s Top 21 cities – with Perth coming in at number 21, Melbourne at 16 and Sydney at number 10. According to Mercer, the coastal haven of Melbourne is one of the best places in the world for education and health-care, whereas Perth is home to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. Sydney is a leading centre of finance in Australia, with an attractive cultural scene and some of the country’s best restaurants.
However there are neighbourhoods adjacent to these main cities and coastal towns that make equally excellent choices, with a lower cost of living but a similarly high quality of life. CurrencyFair looked at these alternative locations in our article on the best places to live in Australia for families, retirees and young professionals.
How much does housing cost in Australia?
Even if you are earning enough to afford to buy, Australian house prices are on the move. According to globalpropertyguide.com, property in Australia rose by 11.1% in eight of its major cities throughout 2017. Sydney has the most expensive housing in the country, with the mean house price of A$903,700 recorded in the second half of 2017 being about 33% above the national mean house price. In contrast, Tasmania has the cheapest housing in Australia, at a mean price of A$360,400 over the same period.
(However there has been trouble on the horizon for the Australian property market so far in 2018 with prices expected to drop by up to 4% in Melbourne and Sydney.)
For anyone planning on investing long-term in property in any of these locations, check out our complete guide to buying a house in Australia. It is important to be aware of the details around what type of property you can buy as an expat. Purchasing property is subject to Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval and you can only buy an unoccupied new dwelling – if the FIRB feels that the purchase will not add to the shortage of properties available to native Australians.
If buying is not in your plans, renting is a more affordable option for most expats living in Australia. Once again prices vary from city to city and even within the same neighbourhoods.
According to expatistan.com, it is 24% more expensive to rent in Sydney than in Melbourne.
Monthly rent for an 85 sqm (900 sqft) furnished accommodation in an “expensive” Sydney neighbourhood is approx A$3,707 compared to A$2,450 in a similar neighbourhood in Melbourne. If you are renting on a budget, an 85 sqm (900 sqft) furnished accommodation in a “normal” neighbourhood is estimated to be A$2,718 in Sydney, compared with A$1,993 in Melbourne.
Travel and commuting in Australia
Sydney is rated as 14% more expensive for transport costs than in a city like Berlin. A monthly transport ticket in Australia like the Sydney Opal card will set you back A$190 where a similar monthly pass in Berlin will cost you just A$125 according to numbeo.com.
Compared with the other major Australian cities, a monthly travel pass cost is approximately A$145 in Melbourne and A$130 in Perth.
German expats in Australia can save on their petrol costs if commuting by car as the cost of fuel is around 50% cheaper in Australia. In Sydney one litre of “gas” is costing you approximately A$1.41 By comparison it would cost A$2.07 in Berlin (numbeo.com).
Health and fitness
With such great weather to enjoy year round, Australians can make the most of the outdoors after work and on weekends. Australia has a really strong cultural interest in outdoor pursuits like walking, running and cycling. For any chilly days or more likely days where it is too hot to work out under the sun, there is always the gym. Prices for joining a gym range from city to city in Australia, but generally you can enjoy working out indoors for A$110 per month in Sydney, A$76 in Melbourne and at almost half the cost for just A$59 in Perth according to expatistan.com. This is compared to a manageable A$67 per month for gym membership in Berlin.
It is not just working out and fitness that leads to a healthier life in Oz. Australia is sometimes known as the “lucky country” and looking at its life expectancy figures, you would have to agree. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data shows the lifespan of both Australian men and women has increased. People born in 2011–2013 are now expected to live to around 33–34 years longer than Australians born between 1880 and 1890.
Life expectancy is on the rise due to the high quality of life, improved living conditions and advancements in the Australian health-care system known as Medicare. A 2017 comparison between the healthcare systems of commonwealth countries shows Australia ranking in second position, ahead of Germany in ninth position, for the performance of its health-care system. Whether living in Australia or Germany, you would be in better medical hands than living in Canada, France or the US who fell well below the country-wide average.
All this means that for any illness or medical treatment you (hopefully won’t, but) may require while in Australia, you are in good hands.
Eating in… and out
Another tasty way to enjoy the outdoors in Australia is by dining al fresco in a top restaurant. Dinner for two at an Italian restaurant in a typically expat area including appetisers, main course, wine and dessert will cost you A$113 in Sydney and in Perth, compared with A$96 in Melbourne. However this meal would cost you A$65 in Berlin.
If enjoying a home-cooked meal is more your style, then a decent bottle of red wine to go with it will set you back A$17 in Perth, A$18 in Melbourne and A$20 in Sydney and just A$10 in Berlin.
The ultimate expat test in any city is the price of a cup of coffee. Your morning cappuccino in Berlin will cost you A$4.61. In an expat area of Perth it is A$4.82, however it is slightly cheaper at A$4.29 in Sydney and A$4.27 in Melbourne. Considering that you will most likely enjoy it outside under a clear blue sky, it’s worth it. (Source: expatistan.com).
Extras costs to consider when moving to Australia
It’s not all work and no play when living in Australia. For a Saturday night at the movies, two tickets will cost you around A$40 in Sydney compared with the price of A$36 in Perth and A$38 in Melbourne. The same tickets however will cost you A$28 in Berlin.
A further selling point for most expats is how much more money you can earn in Australia – a major draw for expats moving to Australia from Europe. According to Numbeo, the average monthly salary in Australia is approximately A$4,163 compared with A$3,379.37 in Germany, meaning you can earn almost 23% more in Australia than in Germany.
Attractive salaries along with world-class healthcare, amazing weather and exciting growth in the tech and startup space, will continue to make Australia a top choice for German expats.
We hope this hasn’t stopped you in your plans to move from Germany to Australia – but now you have some honest tips and advice to make sure you are getting the best start to your move Down Under.
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