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Brisbane ScoreCard

Movehub Rating: 88

health care
purchase power
quality of life
cost of living
crime rate
Hover over the charts to see how the score is calculated.

Moving to Brisbane from the UK


Source: Flickr | Nam Nguyen

Without mincing words, Brisbane is hot. The average temperature in the winter months of June and July is about 16°C and the summer sees highs of over 40°C. It also gets pretty humid and therefore isn’t suitable for some constitutions. Most though, once used to it, are soon laughing at the thought of having endured those never ending British winters.

While the Australian dollar has been climbing steadily in relation to the British pound in recent years, you’ll still probably find Brisbane property pretty affordable and rent very reasonable. You might pay more at the grocers for fresh fruit and veg but you’ll also find that what you’re buying is much better quality than back in the UK.

Income tax has recently been lowered in Australia and there’s no tax to pay on your first 18,200 AUD of income, which means that in most cases you’ll be paying less than in Britain.

Brisbanites are pretty used to Brits moving in; there were over 109,000 UK-born residents at the 2011 census - so as long as you don’t conform to the ‘whingeing pom’ stereotype you should have no trouble settling in.

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Moving to Brisbane

Brisbane is Australia’s third biggest city and the state capital of Queensland. It’s the largest economy between Sydney and Singapore and continues to see growth on the back of Australia’s resources boom. That, along with year round warm temperatures, has attracted plenty of people looking to set up a new life in recent years. Over 29% of Brisbane’s population was born overseas with settlers from Britain, New Zealand, India and China present in large numbers.

Queensland, known as the Sunshine State has a history of mining and agriculture which left Brisbane, outside the economic and government centres of the South East, with something of a Big Country Town label.

Shaking off that reputation has been a point of honour with Brisbanites for some time. The recent economic growth, influx of migrants and real estate development, a large tourism industry, the Treasury Casino and a growing popular music scene have all helped achieve that ambition and even led to the city’s new nickname of Bris Vegas.

Brisbane Treasury Casino

Source: Flickr | Nam Nguyen"

Lying just a short drive away from the beautiful beaches of Moreton Bay and with the Gold Coast and Surfer’s Paradise not far away, Brisbane is the perfect spot for lovers of sand and surf, wildlife enthusiasts, golfing fanatics and shopaholics.

Comparing Brisbane vs London

Apart from knocking the socks off London in the weather department with almost double the amount of average annual sunshine hours, how does Brisbane compare to the UK capital in terms of living standards?

Brisbanites enjoy a modern, clean city with the Brisbane river running through it and a man made beach in the centre. Brisbane is much less polluted than London even though the main mode of transportation is car. Roads out to the suburbs can get heavily congested at rush hour and lead to long commute times.

Brisbane Botanical Garden

Source: Flickr | Nam Nguyen

Brisbane stands up quite well in terms of galleries and museums - the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) hosts many international exhibitions and is a particular highlight. The city also has a thriving performing arts and music scene - it hosts the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), the Queensland Ballet and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. There are many festivals which take place in the city each year including the ‘Ekka’, the Riverfestival, the Brisbane International Film Festival and the Caxton Street Seafood and Wine Festival.

ABC Southbank Brisbane

Source: Flickr | Rae Allen

The Australia Zoo was made famous by Steve Irwin and the City Botanic Gardens is just one of many scenic parks and gardens in Brisbane.

The cost of living in Brisbane is roughly equivalent to London - while groceries and consumer goods are generally more expensive, on average you’ll spend a much lower proportion of your income on rent or mortgage costs.

Thinking of shipping your things to Bris Vegas? Check out what shipping from London to Brisbane will cost you.

Property in Brisbane

While house prices have been fairly stagnant across Australia for the last couple of years the mining boom shows no sign of slowing. Also, property in Brisbane is generally cheaper than in Sydney and Melbourne. Those two facts together could mean that it’s a good time to buy.

Mortgages in Queensland are available for up to 95% loan-to-value. In addition, first time buyers of new property, including new permanent residents, are eligible for a 15,000 AUD Great Start Grant from the Queensland government. Stamp duty in the state is between 1.5% and 5.75% depending on the property value but first time buyers get a concessionary rate.

Source: Flickr | David Hsu

The median house price in Brisbane in early 2013 is 430,000 AUD (£197,300) but as with most large cities there’s quite a bit of variance in property prices. Exclusive Chandler has a median house price of 1,000,000 AUD while on the outskirts of the city, in Deception Bay say, 32km from the centre, median prices are closer to 280,000 AUD.

It’s recommended to rent temporarily when you first arrive to get an idea of which suburb you want to live in - expensive in the short term but far cheaper in the long run than making a wrong decision about where to buy.

Source: Flickr | denisbin

Brisbane rarely suffers from cyclones and floods but it’s worth checking whether your intended purchase has flooded before and getting the appropriate insurance cover.

The median rental price for a two bedroom apartment in New Farm, close to the CBD, was 550 AUD per week at the time of writing.

Neighbourhood Picks

  • Family Friendly: The Gap. Not a clothing store but a leafy, hilly suburb 10km west of the CBD with nice schools and lots of parks.
  • Hip and Trendy: Fortitude Valley has a bit more edge than New Farm with annual arts, jazz and gay festivals.
  • Upmarket: Wilston has some beautiful old Queenslander style houses, with large verandas and high ceilings, as well as more modern architectural flourishes.
  • Up and Coming: Kedron is just outside the centre with good transport links and plenty of shops.

Schools and Education in Brisbane

Provision of education in Australia is administered at the state level. Queensland provide over 250 state primary schools in the Greater Brisbane area and over 100 state high schools and colleges where students work towards a Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE).

State schools in Brisbane

State schools are free but often request a voluntary donation which can sometimes exceed 1,000 AUD (£460) per year. Every child is guaranteed a place at their local school, but you can also send your child to a different state school if there are places available.

Brisbane private schools

There are over 150 private schools in Brisbane including faith based, secular and international schools. Tuition fees for private education have risen substantially in recent years, climbing to 20,000 AUD (£9,300) for elite schools like Brisbane Girls Grammar School and Brisbane Boys’ College.

There are also eight schools in Brisbane which offer the International Baccalaureate.


Brisbane has three highly rated Australian universities: the University of Queensland (rated 65th best in the world by the Times Higher Education survey), Queensland University of Technology and Griffith University.

If you are all set to move to Brisbane from the UK, why not take a look at how you can get a visa for Australia.