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Canberra ScoreCard

Movehub Rating: 83

health care
92
purchase power
63
quality of life
cost of living
70
crime rate
40
Hover over the charts to see how the score is calculated.

Moving to Canberra from the UK

Canberra’s demographics reflect the fact that the Australian capital was built especially for the purposes of government. The young, well educated population is highly mobile - many move to the city for a few years to advance their careers and then move away again.

Similarly Brits moving to Canberra will likely be doing so via pre-arranged jobs in government, IT or media.

Canberra, Australia

Source: Flickr | Prescott Pym

The upside to living in the Australian Capital Territory is that things are set up for efficiency. Everything from transport and hospitals to the easily navigable city centre and location of schools is planned for career-focused, time-poor citizens trying to maintain a work-life balance.

Say goodbye to long, dreary commutes in UK cities, say hello to sunny suburbs a short drive from the city centre.

The downside is that work is very much king - which can be dull for partners or retirees. While recreational activities are aplenty in the countryside surrounding the city, the centre itself, once you’ve exhausted the museums and galleries, offers relatively little in the way of distraction. There’s no cafe culture to speak of and your local pub is likely to stretch the definition of the word local.

Comparing Canberra vs London

Weather compared to London

Contrary to expectations, Canberra’s climate sees more average annual precipitation than that of London, by about 4%, and nearly as many rainy days (106 compared to London’s 110).

Canberra’s rainfall though is balanced by summer temperatures which reach average highs of 28°C in midsummer (as opposed to London’s mere 23°C) and by nearly double the average annual hours of sunshine.

Cost of living compared to London

The cost of living is made marginally lower in Canberra than in London by lower rents and more affordable property.

On the other hand, fresh produce costs more (especially imported goods like European beer) and phone/internet costs are significantly higher than in the UK. Petrol is cheaper by about 30%, though.

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On average, Canberrans report themselves as having greater purchasing power than Londoners, feeling safer and experiencing better health care. They also report themselves putting up with far less pollution and spending significantly less time commuting.

Culture compared to London

While Canberra’s cultural attractions pale in comparison to those of the UK capital, the National Museum of Australia, National Gallery of Australia and the Canberra Theatre and Playhouse add a touch of class.

The way the city flows into the surrounding national parks - including Brindabella and Namadgi - nature reserves and forests should be the envy of every outdoorsy London dweller.


Property in Canberra

The housing market is a hot topic in Australia due to the ups and downs that have been experienced in house prices over the past few years. Fears of a pronounced housing bubble, as seen in the US and UK, seemed to be confirmed when prices plummeted in 2009.

Government intervention slowed, and then reversed, those falls in 2010 only for them to drop again in 2011. At the moment, there looks to be a slow nationwide recovery.

Canberra is by no means bucking the general trend. House prices rose by around 1.5% in 2012 and are projected to rise a modest 3% over the next three years - lower than any other Australian city, but not by much.

Source: Flickr | Ether Huang

Affordable suburbs like Tuggeranong (a 25 minute drive south of the city centre) and Gunghalin (a twenty minute drive north of the city centre) see median house prices of 480,000 AUD and 455,000 AUD respectively.

Stamp duty in the Australian Capital Territory is levied on a sliding scale between 2.2% (for house values up to 200,000 AUD) and around 9.8% (for a house valued at 1,650,000 AUD). There are concessions for new homes or purchases of residential land.

The state also offers a first home owner grant of 7,000 to 12,500 AUD to those buying a newly built or substantially renovated property.


Neighbourhood Picks

  • Family Friendly: Dickson is a leafy inner-north suburb with playing fields and a community garden.
  • Hip and Trendy: Braddon is a high density ‘burb just to the north of the CBD with contemporary arts spaces and theatres.
  • Upmarket: Among the wealthy inner-south suburbs O’Malley is the most prestigious. Many of its large houses are occupied by foreign embassies.
  • Up and Coming: Kambah was named by Punch magazine as one of Australia’s 10 most Bogan (i.e. chavvy) suburbs but the reputation masks a highly diverse neighbourhood.

Schools and Education in Canberra

The planning of Canberra took education into account and made provision for most suburbs to include a primary school and have a preschool close by. As such there were 140 schools in Canberra, 96 of which were state schools. A new policy initiative in 2006 though announced a series of closures and mergers which faced significant opposition from the city’s inhabitants. To date only a few of these changes have been carried out.

Source: flickr | Liberal Democrats

The main choice in Canberra is between state schools and independent schools. The former are of generally high quality though this varies between suburbs. Parents can enrol their child by contacting their local school directly.

The latter range from state subsidised catholic schools which charge fees of around 1,200 AUD (£556) per annum to prestigious institutions charging tuition fees of around 12,000 AUD (£5,500) per annum.

There are seven schools in the Australian Capital Territory which participate in the International Baccalaureate programme, including one Francophone school, Telopea Park School Lycée Franco-Australien de Canberra.

Canberra has two main universities: the Australian National University (ranked number 1 in the country by Times Higher Education) and the University of Canberra.