Australia vs. the UK: who has the better cost of living?

cost of living

There are many ties between the UK and Australia, culturally, socially, on the sporting pitch and even family ones. London is considered to be the biggest Aussie city outside of Australia and more and more British families are moving over Down Under to get better weather and lifestyle.

With that in mind, which country has the better cost of living?

UK rules: owning your house

One of the big advantages the UK has over Australia is that interest rates have remained low for a long time now. Thus when you use this mortgage calculator to work out mortgage payments in Australia you’ll see that because the interest rate is higher, the payments are higher and owning a house will ultimately cost you more.

In addition property prices in Australia have sky-rocketed during the last 20 years in smaller cities such as Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide. This has created a housing affordability crisis which has not been helped by wealthy foreigners buying property in these cities and pushing housing prices through the roof.

In comparison property prices in Manchester or Liverpool haven’t increased by much since the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis, although we may very well see an increase in the not too distant future.

UK rules: groceries

Australia has a virtual duopoly when it comes to Supermarkets. Coles and Woolworths account for over 80% of all supermarkets in Australia which is unhealthy in terms of competition.

Add in the fact that Australia needs to import foodstuff from a overseas and you should expect to pay a lot more for your day to day grocery down under.

Compare this to the UK, a member for the European Union and close to many countries that produce plenty of food that is eaten in season. This is why food in the UK is much cheaper.

Australia rules: owning and operating a car

Where motoring in concerned the Aussies have it good. Brits on the other have some of the most expensive petrol prices in the world. At an average cost of £0.80 in Perth, Western Australia the Aussies pay almost £0.50 per liter less compared to their British mates when it comes to petrol.

Although buying a car is 20% more expensive in Australia, this is offset by the fact that the British pay more on car insurance which is why this one goes to the Aussies.

Australia rules: commuting

With a combination of cheaper petrol and cheaper public transport the Aussies win this one hands down. The average monthly Metrolink season ticket from the suburbs of Manchester into town will set you back £75; compare this to Perth where the monthly rail pass is half that amount. I

t just shows how expensive public transport is in the UK.


Obviously this based on comparing only two cities: Manchester and Perth. It still seems to me that the UK is overall the cheaper place to live because of the lower housing prices and the cost of groceries.

How about quality of life? Well, ask me this one some other time.

photo credit: texaus1 via photopin cc

7 thoughts on “Australia vs. the UK: who has the better cost of living?”

  1. I have no idea how things are in the UK, but I’ve lived in Australia and Canada. When I moved to Canada, I was shocked by how much cheaper everything was! I spent my first month in the mall grabbing things like they were free. 😉

  2. One big issue with Australia is also the cost of transportation and flight to the rest of the world. If you are used to have business or vacation in Africa, America or Europe, living in Australia is extremelly expensive.
    Thank you for posting,

    1. @Robert: This is correct; I have a colleague who worked in Australia for several years and he was saying that being far from everywhere else is not a very good feeling. Professionally or personally. At the same time, I can get used to the beach and the sports.

  3. I have lived in both countries Canada for 3 years and Australia for over 10 years, honestly speaking….Australia is beautiful BUT fairly expensive compared to CA and YES Melbourne is very cold in Winter time, cannot reach Vancouver minus 5 degrees but the wind in Melbourne and Adelaide even in Sydney from June to September is freeziiinnnnnngggggggg!!!
    And the feeling “we are” living in a very far…far…far…far way land which to flight to any place is fairly expensive……
    My vote would be to CA or probably UK is cheaper, as far as I read and asked to some friends.

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