Sydney Cost of Living: A Complete Breakdown

Joshua Chadwick By Joshua Chadwick February 28th

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When you think of Sydney, it’s hard to not think of its beautiful beaches, vibrant cultural scene, and bustling city life. It’s also difficult to not think of the heavy price tag that comes with living in this cosmopolitan city.

The question is: is this concern justified? Let’s dive into the average cost of living a Sydneysider would spend on your everyday essentials.

Is Sydney really that expensive?

According to Mercer’s 2023 Cost of Living City Ranking, Sydney is listed as the 56th most expensive city in the world, with the city’s high costs for everything from housing and transportation to groceries and entertainment (at least it’s not New York’s level of expensive!) Due to this ranking, Sydney is the most expensive city in Australia, with Melbourne following loosely behind in 71st place.

As a result, the cost of living in Sydney can be a significant concern for residents and visitors alike, and it’s essential to be aware of the expenses associated with living in this dynamic Australian city.

When diving below the surface into the individual expenses of an average person living in Sydney, it’s easy to see why Sydneysiders are stressing about purchasing a cappuccino from the city centre of NSW.

Housing/Rent Costs

There are plenty of factors to take into consideration when calculating your cost of living, but arguably the biggest expense you’ll need to take note of is housing or rent costs.

Much like its east-side neighbour in Melbourne, Sydney follows the trend you’ll find anywhere you go in higher pricing when the house/apartment is closer to the city centre.

Housing costs also vary on the size of the property, as an apartment with only 1 bedroom in the outer suburbs of Sydney will certainly cost less than an apartment or house with 3 bedrooms in the CBD. So, whether you’re looking for a home for business, family or studying as an international student, here are the rent averages by the size of accommodation and location, provided by Muval.

Type of AccommodationAverage cost per weekAverage cost per month
City Centre1-bedroom apartment$650.62$2,827.11
City Centre, 3-bedroom apartment$1324.34$5,754.56
Suburban/Regional, 1-bedroom apartment$469.64$2,040.71
Suburban/Regional, 3-Bedroom apartment$825.43$3,586.67
Source: Muval Cost of Living in Sydney

As seen above, the average costs of housing/rent can vary by the thousands by even the slightest change of location and accommodation. This discrepancy remains the same when purchasing an apartment, as the average cost per metre squared is vastly different between an apartment close to the city centre and an apartment in the suburban areas of Sydney.

LocationAverage cost per metre squared
Sydney CBD$20,903.16
Source: Muval Cost of Living in Sydney

Is the grass greener?

As it stands, Sydney has the second highest median house rent in Australia with a median of $630 per week, second only to the ACT ($670). The median house rent for Australia is $520 per week.

Cost of Utilities

Another key living expense to remember is the cost of utilities (which we happen to know a fair bit about!)

Monthly costs for utilities vary across the available utility providers in Sydney, as well as the number of individuals in the household, since a single person won’t use as much electricity as a family of four.

The average prices for utilities in Sydney can be found below, provided by Canstar Blue research conducted in December 2022.

UtilityAverage Monthly CostAverage Quarterly Cost
Source: Canstar Blue research; ElectricityGasInternetWater

Electricity is the most expensive utility cost, which is universal across Australia. Gas remains to be the cheapest utility in Sydney, with the average cost being less than its neighbours in Melbourne and Adelaide, but more than Brisbane.

Thankfully, due to the introduction of the National Broadband Network (NBN), internet costs across Australia are all pretty similar, ranging from $70-95 between the states.

Water costs are the second cheapest in the country, with Melbourne spending the least on average. Thankfully, Sydneysiders don’t have to arrange for their own water connection like the Victorians!

Additional Expenses

Housing and utility costs are mostly linear in their averages, thus making it a bit more simple to calculate. However, they’re not the only costs to take into consideration when determining the cost of living in the city centre of New South Wales.

For example, one of the key expenses for daily living is transport, whether that be spending on care for your car with petrol and maintenance, or even adding funds to your Opal card to get around the city via public transport.


Sydney’s public transport supports many different methods of transportation, consisting of buses, trains, ferries and light rail. The cost of using public transport in Sydney depends on the mode of transport, the distance travelled, and the time of day.

New South Wales also holds different ticket types available, including single-trip tickets, Opal cards (a reusable smartcard), and TravelPasses (for unlimited travel within a designated period). Using a prepaid Opal card can be more cost-effective than purchasing single-trip tickets as they offer discounted fares and a daily travel cap.

On average, a resident in Sydney will spend roughly $177 monthly on public transport, taking into account those travelling during workdays with an estimate of around 10km each way using an Opal card.

Sydneysiders also spend an average of $198.35 per month topping up their cars with petrol, so it’s a fair cost to travel even if you’re just heading to the cinemas and grabbing a movie ticket or going shopping for a fresh pair of jeans!


The monthly average cost for groceries in Sydney can vary depending on factors such as the size of the household, the food preferences of the individuals, and where they choose to shop.

Depending on these factors, the cost of groceries in Sydney could range from around $400 to $800 on average. If we’re looking at a single person spending in a month, this averages out to roughly $373 spending on groceries and food in general.

These costs could vary from person to person, as one individual may opt to head to a food market and pick up some low-cost local cheese and indulge in a cafe trip once in a while, whilst another may opt to eat in with some Mcdonald’s and settle in with a combo meal!

Cost of Living Breakdown

After taking into consideration the key expenses listed above, we’ve provided an overall cost of living in Sydney in the table below. This table won’t nail an individual person’s spending habits, as there are additional factors for each person (gym memberships, health insurance, mobile phone costs, childcare, personal care, etc.)

ExpenseAverage Monthly Cost in Sydney
Transport$198 (Fuel), $177 (Public Transport)
Total Cost$3,610 ($3,787 incl. Public Transport)

If you’re looking to move to Sydney or even just browsing to see how much it costs to live there, you may need to sort out your utilities! Should that be the case, give us a call at 1300 854 478 or use the Get Connected form here! If you’re unsure about using a utility connection company, hopefully, this post here can assist you.

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Joshua Chadwick
Joshua Chadwick