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

The fourth in our series of ‘affordable places to live in Australia’ is Brisbane. Brisbane is the sunny state capital of Queensland (QLD). Nestled on the banks of the Brisbane river, between Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast to the north and south, it has a lot of beautiful scenery close by.

Despite having a coastal position, the actual city sits inland on the river, and the beaches tend to be a 30-60 minute train ride away. Brisbane has seen a lot of development in the last 15 years, and it’s now a vibrant state capital and bustling city. There are a lot of new cafes and apartment blocks in the CBD, and it’s a hotspot for backpackers going up and down the east coast. But where should you consider moving to in Australia’s third largest city?

The cost of living in Brisbane

The average wage in QLD is slightly lower than the national average but the unit rental market is also cheaper than Sydney and Melbourne. So you can still get a city centre apartment here without paying over the odds for it and get the standard of living in Australia you’re looking for.

Brisbanites do seem to have more expensive groceries and extras. They are paying around $4.55 for a medium cappuccino, which is more expensive than Sydney! Obviously it depends where you eat out, but an inexpensive meal can cost around $20, which again is more expensive than Sydney and Melbourne. However, the beer prices here sits under $10 in most places, so it’s not all bad!

Living in central Brisbane

There has been a lot of development in central Brisbane and in recent years we’ve seen countless apartment blocks rising up. This is predominantly to cater for a younger, more metropolitan population who want to live by the river. If this is you, the average city centre unit rental cost is $500. Most young professionals move to the South Bank or Kangaroo Point. If you’re away from the water’s edge, you can get a unit for less than $400 here.

Living in the suburbs of Brisbane

Outside the centre you can start finding larger properties in suburban locations. One of the cheapest suburbs is Inala, with a house rental averaging at $330pw. It has good access to public transport, shops, green spaces and schools, but crime rates have been reported as some of the highest in Brisbane.

The up and coming inner-west suburb of Milton is a favourite for the sports fans as it sits close to the Suncorp Stadium. It is home to the famous XXXX brewery and is often referred to as ‘little Italy’ because of its growing European cafe culture and the replica Eiffel Tower! It’s rental prices sit a little higher at $450pw, but it does have some of the best eateries in Brisbane.

Wilston has been voted one of the best suburbs to live in Brisbane. It’s close to the CBD but you get a one bed unit for less than $300pw and a two bed house for $400pw. It has good rail links and good proximity to green spaces and cafes, so you can keep the balance of working and relaxing, ensuring you experience the Australian culture and lifestyle in your new home.

Living near the beach in Brisbane

The closest beachside suburbs to Brisbane CBD are the northside Redcliffe and Margate. You can enjoy year-round beach and city life here.

In Redcliffe, the average unit rental is around $360pw; Margate is $315pw. You can get into the centre in about an hour and you have everything here you would need, including large grocery stores, cafes, parks, schools and, of course, beaches!

If you’re looking to move further out to the vibrant Gold Coast, the average house rental cost in the popular suburb of Mermaid Waters is around $700pw and unit rental at $410pw. The beaches can get crowded here and there are a lot of holiday makers in the high-rise blocks.

The northern Sunshine Coast is quieter and might be more suited to settling down into an ‘outdoorsy’ lifestyle near the beaches and national parks. A popular inland suburb here is Nambour. It has a thriving culture and beautiful 1860s charm. Average rental price is between $320pw and $415pw for units and houses respectively.

Mooloolaba is an affordable and popular coastal suburb that has plenty to keep young professionals and families entertained year-round. You will pay more to be by the beaches though; the average unit rental is around $400pw.

Suburbs with vibrant nightlife

The central Fortitude Valley area is famed for its nightlife. This used to put permanent residents off, but in recent years it has become a more popular place to settle, coming 35th in the Domain liveability rankings. It’s a 25-minute walk from the CBD, with an average rental cost of $420pw per unit.

Another option is the bohemian and vibrant West End, and it’s only a 10-minute train journey from the centre. It has regular markets, an impressive arts scene and vibrant nightlife. Unsurprisingly, it attracts younger, more hipster residents. To live in this sought after suburb you will be paying around $420pw.

Always do your research before moving to Australia permanently 

Living in Queensland is a great option if you love the sunshine all year round. But if you haven’t decided where to live yet, check out our previous article for a general overview of the costs of living in Australia.

If you haven’t already looked, this series is packed with things to know about moving to Australia and what it’s like living in Australia. Check out our other articles on affordable living in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

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