Moving to Sydney


Our rating

5 out of 5

  • Affordability 3 out of 5

  • Safety 4 out of 5

  • Healthcare 3 out of 5

  • Traffic Flow 4 out of 5

  • Property affordability 3 out of 5

  • Climate 5 out of 5

  • Environment quality 5 out of 5

Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, is home to nearly 5 million inhabitants: an eclectic mix of ethnicities, cultures and heritages which typifies the energy, optimism and lust for life of this immigrant nation.

It has grown into a world city renowned for its beautiful parks, well maintained beaches and sporting excellence – not to mention ranking 6th on the EIU’s world’s most liveable cities list (four cities in Australia made the list last year).

Living in Sydney

The extremely diverse population has imported cuisine from all over the world to the extent where it’s possible to satiate almost any craving from sushi to shawarma with ease.

Often mistakenly thought to be the capital of Australia (that honour is actually held by Canberra) Sydney is certainly the country’s economic hub. It has the largest business district in country and is home to the regional headquarters of many multi-nationals, Aussie giants like Caltex and Woolworths, the Australian stock market, and the Australian Reserve Bank. It also has the highest Australian property prices, rents, and net incomes.

It’s also hugely important to the cultural landscape of Australia with the world famous opera house, the State Theatre and Sydney Theatre, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the Sydney Dance Company, and the National Institute of Dramatic Art all calling Sydney home.

Sydney’s film industry gave birth to Strictly Ballroom and Priscilla Queen of the Desert and the city often stands in for US cities in Hollywood productions. Its restless live music scene has spawned AC/DC, INXS and The Vines, among countless others.

Sport and outdoor activities feature prominently in Sydney life. Popular sports include rugby league, cricket and Australian rules football while the city’s 60+ harbour and ocean beaches, the national parks and forests which surround it and its temperate climate are the perfect environs for nature lovers, cyclists and hikers as well as practitioners of more extreme sports.

Job market

There’s huge variety in Sydney’s job market. Current growth markets are information technology, education, health services, building trades and engineering. Sydney is the destination of choice for international corporations and business leaders and it is a major financial hub, employing one third of Australia’s financial sector workforce.

The Australian Stock Exchange and Reserve Bank are based in Sydney, as are other big businesses, so it is a big drawcard for professionals seeking to move to Australia. In 2015 the unemployment rate was slightly less than the Australian average of about 6.1%.

Cost of Living

While Sydney may regularly find itself on lists of the most expensive cities in the world, it is still cheaper than London and New York, with consumer prices up to 20% cheaper.

It is still the most costly city in Australia, although with some of the highest wages in the world, goods and services are comparatively affordable and consumer spending power is reasonable. A cappuccino costs about $3.50, a movie ticket will set you back $19, a monthly travel card $160, a mid-range bottle of wine $18 and monthly internet connection about $70.

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Sydney has world-famous restaurants and chefs and a food culture that offers an eclectic blend of cuisines to suit any budget. Most suburbs have everything from Vietnamese, Indian, Italian and Chinese to modern Australian, seafood and Lebanese restaurants.

The main supermarkets are Woolworths and Coles, but there are also increasing numbers of budget supermarkets like Aldi and Costco and farmer’s markets where you can buy grower direct. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant will cost about $14, while a meal for two at a mid-range place can be $60-$110.

At the supermarket a litre of milk costs about $1.60, a kilo of chicken breast $10.80, a domestic bottle of beer Beer $6, a dozen eggs $4.60, a loaf of bread $2.41 and a kilo of oranges $3.09.


Sydney has a vast array of individual real estate markets, with varying types of housing and The median rental price for houses in Sydney is $530 per week, while apartments are going for $510. While an apartment in Bondi Junction might set you back $770 per week, you could get one in North Paramatta for $475 per week.

You may be required to show proof of income and rental history prior to securing a lease. The rental vacancy rate in Sydney is quite low so it is a competitive market. Utility bills (heat, water electricity etc) will set you back about $180 a month.

Property information

Real estate prices in Sydney can vary dramatically, from high-end multi-million dollar waterside mansions to affordable three-bedroom homes in outer suburbs.

Sydney’s median house price is just over $1 million and for an apartment it’s just under $700,000. While the city has seen an extraordinary growth in house prices over the last three years, that is slowing down.

The most expensive suburb Point Piper where mansions regularly sell for tens of millions of dollars. At the slightly more affordable end of the range, the median price of a house in Bondi, 7km east of the city centre, is around $1.4 million.

Moving further out, 15km west of the CBD is North Ryde where the median house price is closer to A$800k. In order to find median house prices as low as $400k you’ll have to go out as far as 22km to the west to somewhere like Granville.


Sydney has more than 500 suburbs so it all comes down to your price range and preference. Whether you want an apartment in a lively neighbourhood, a home near the beach or a larger house on a bigger block next to bushland, there is something for everyone.

Obviously properties in the outer suburbs are much cheaper, but it depends how much time you are willing to commit to a commute if you work in the city centre.

Sydney is incredibly multicultural with a great deal of its residents born overseas and there are pockets favoured by people of similar cultures and nationalities.


Family friendly

Manly Vale is surrounded by beautiful beaches and parks. There is a good selection of public and private schools and ample shopping and child-friendly activities.

Bondi Beach – Sydney’s favourite surfing and sunbathing beach

Hip & trendy

Redfern is an inner-city neighbourhood full of bars, restaurants and cafes, Redfern has had a dramatic transformation in recent years. It’s also one of the most culturally, ethnically and economically diverse suburbs in Sydney.

Chinatown: Slightly northeast of Darlinghurst, Chinatown also has some Spanish clubs and restaurants

Potts Point and Darlinghurst: Inner City area known as Kings Cross, much like London’s Soho: adult bookshops, bars and nightclubs


Vaucluse has median house prices approaching A$3 million, but it’s bang on the harbour and the views alone are worth the big bucks.

Manly Vale: Peninsula on the northern shore, of beachside cafes and bars

Up & coming

Liverpool in Sydney’s western suburbs is about 30km from the CBD and is already a mini-hub in its own right. It has great public transport and is earmarked for future developments.

Woollahra: Eastern district of trendy shops, antique stores, cafes and restaurants

Cost of moving to Sydney

Now that you’re hooked and can’t wait to make the move to Sydney, have a look at some of the average moving costs from various cities around the world to Sydney. Take note that these costs are based on the average move for a family of four using a 20ft shipping container:

Singapore to Sydney

1,200 ()

Cape Town to Sydney

2,300 ()

Los Angeles to Sydney

2,500 ()

London to Sydney

2,800 ()

Rome to Sydney

3,000 ()

New York to Sydney

4,600 ()

Schools and education in Sydney

Government schools are free to the children of Australian citizens and permanent residents, although you may be asked to pay voluntary school fees and extras for special excursions and performances.

Private schools (often called independent or non-government schools) are popular and reasonably priced compared with overseas. Many are affiliated with religious organisations and fees range from about $2,000 to more than $20,000 a year.

Universities in Sydney

Sydney is home to several world-class universities, including:

  • University of Sydney, University of NSW
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • Macquarie University
  • University of Western Sydney

Tertiary education costs vary according to course, university, and if you are an Australian resident or not. Non-Australian residents can pay as much as A$30,000 a year for university study, although there are Technical and Further Education (TAFE) colleges that offer shorter diploma courses with a more commercial focus.

Ranking against the world

In terms of legal and education systems, business and culture, Sydney is much like the UK. Sydneysiders live for the weekend and whether you like getting out and about on the water or visiting the beach, walking in bushland, activities with family or experiencing shopping and nightlife, Sydney has it all.

Like Australia in general, people in Sydney are generally very laid back, and they benefit from an excellent healthcare system, good public transport, education and cultural diversity. It is no wonder Sydney is regularly named in the top 10 most liveable cities worldwide.

Sydney’s climate through the seasons

SpringSeptember to November11 to 23°C7in of rain
SummerDecember to February17 to 26°C4in of rainfall
AutumnMartch to May14 to 24°C5in of rainfall
WinterJune to August8 to 17°C6in of rainfall

Transport in and around Sydney

  • Harbour City Ferries: Ferries from Circular Quay to Taranga Zoo, Balmain Kirribilli, Neutral Bay, Mosman and Rose Bay
  • Sydney Trains: Trains run around Sydney from 4am – midnight
  • Sydney Light Rail: Another of the four major transport operators in the city. Times vary
  • NSW Trains: Linking Sydney to the wider metropolitan area and the rest of Aus
  • Buses: Prepaid service that runs almost 24 hours

Sydney’s events calendar

TimeEventWhat is it?
FebruarySydney Cellar DoorWine, cheese and music
February - MarchMardi GrasGay & Lesbian carnival
MarchHarbour RegattaShowcase of over 300 yachts
March - JuneSydney BiennaleAustralia’s largest contemporary arts festival
April – mid-MaySydney Comedy FestivalInternational comedy festival
Mid-AprilSydney Easter ShowAustralia’s biggest organised event - a celebration of Aussie culture
Early MayThredbo JazzAustralia’s best jazz musicians come together
May – mid-JuneVivid SydneyCreative events on the themes of light, music and ideas
AugustCity 2 Surf14km runs and other sporting events across the city
New Year’s EveNew Year’s Eve FireworksSydney’s famous fireworks above the opera house