Moving to Australia?  Considering Sydney? Here’s what you need to know and what it’ll cost you. 

The third in our Living in Australia series explores ‘affordable places to live in Sydney. Sydney is the shiny state capital of New South Wales (NSW). It has over 900 suburbs to choose from, making it the largest city in Australia. With nearly 40% of its population being born overseas, this is a popular choice for relocating! It ranks highly every year for being one of the best cities to live in the world, and boasts numerous gorgeous beaches and world famous landmarks. With these attributes often comes a hefty price tag, can you still have an affordable life in Australia’s most expensive city? 

The cost of living in Sydney

The average wage in NSW is in line with the national average but the unit rental market is the most expensive in the country. So if you don’t have a high flying city job waiting for you, you might need to watch what you’re spending.

Sydneysiders are paying around $4.08 for that caffeine hit before work, and an inexpensive meal can cost around $18 in a cute suburb restaurant. However, there are a lot of pricey eateries in the CBD! Although prices will vary, that cold beer after work can still be found in most places under $10.

Living in central Sydney

One thing to note before you jump right into city centre living, make sure you give yourself enough time to find a place, it’s a very busy and competitive market here!

The centre of Sydney is a big place and often reserved for those who actually work in the city. If you’ve got the cash you can have some of the most beautiful views of the harbour or the Opera house. However, you will be paying for the luxury. The average unit rental cost in Sydney CBD is $760pw for a very small apartment, and if you want any room to move you’re looking at $900+pw

Suburbs of Sydney to consider

The great thing about it being such a large city is that the suburbs are well established, often people only need to leave their suburb for work. There are great transport links around the Greater Sydney area making the ‘Australian dream’ easily accessible from almost anywhere!


Artarmon is a good place to start, it’s got a little bit of everything. It’s got a little town centre and close to bigger shops in Chatswood. It’s close to the CBD but you might still be able to get a 1 bed unit for less than $500pw. It’s got its own rail links and good proximity to green spaces so you can keep the balance of working and relaxing.

Padstow and Revesby

Down near Georges River National park, is the up and coming Padstow and Rivesby. Between them, these two spots have almost everything for everyone: shops, worldwide restaurants, bowling, parks and tram links. They’re about 30km from Central Sydney and have a lot of apartment options for lower budgets. Despite having the ‘Western Suburb’ label, they are on the eastern border and have a really nice feel to them. You can get a lot more for your money here, picking up an apartment for about $450pw and a house for $570pw. Many people who are being pushed out of more central locations are looking at suburbs like these, which will bring further developments in the years to come. 

Affordable coastal suburbs are rare in Sydney

You will have to dedicate weeks on end trying to get somewhere affordable that’s near the water, popular places near the coast can have over 4000 visits per rental property! As this article is about affordable and cheap living we are going to look further away from Central Sydney and the tourist scene.


The northern suburb of Newport is sandwiched between the coast and Pittwater, so you don’t get much more water front than this. It’s a bit out of the way with no rail links so you’ll need to factor in the running costs of a car. It’s 35km from Central Sydney and offers a quiet, safe and scenic living option. You can get an apartment here for around $500pw but a house will set you back around $900pw!


The beautiful and energetic southern suburb of Cronulla (‘nulla) has an amazing beach life waiting for you! You can get an apartment here for under $500pw. There’s so much natural beauty for you to enjoy in Cronulla, but you will have to be patient with your 55 minute commute. The 5km long beach has direct train access and over 100 restaurants and bars to keep you entertained, it’s only downside is that it can get busy at the weekends or holidays with Sydneysiders coming down for the surf.

Suburbs with good nightlife

Redfern and Surry Hills

The recently gentrified Redfern is close to the city and the popular Surry Hills, whilst also being relatively affordable. It’s got great transports links and local amenities. You’ll be paying over $600pw for an apartment here but you can’t argue with its location!

Dulwich Hill & Marrickville

Another option is the picturesque Dulwich Hill. It’s only a 25 minute train journey from the centre, it’s also got tram and bus links so nowhere is inaccessible. It is also walking distance from the vibrant Marrickville. It’s high street is full of Art Deco architecture, cute cafes and bars but more importantly you can rent a unit for under $500 there!

Always do your research before you make the leap 

If you haven’t decided where to move yet, check out our previous article for a general overview of the costs of living in Australia here. You may also like; 

Moving to Australia – Considering where to live

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