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Finding a place to live in Australia

With spacious beaches, lively country towns and bustling cities, Australia has something for everyone. But with so many choices, it’s worth doing your homework. That way you can find the perfect place — without breaking your budget.

The good news is you can start researching where to live before you arrive. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, Australian property websites feature up-to-date suburb profiles and individual property listings. If you’re thinking about buying, we have Home Lending Specialists that can help, with a personalised property report on the suburb you’re interested in.

Naturally you’ll want to consider essentials like transport and—if you have school age children—suitable schools. You can find out more about schools in each suburb on the My School website which is maintained by the Australian Government’s Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.

This ultimately depends on where you want to live. Like most countries, our major cities are not cheap, but they offer a lot in terms of lifestyle. To give an indication of prices, the most affordable city to rent in is Hobart in Tasmania where a house is likely to cost around $350 a week1. In Sydney, average rent prices are higher at $530 for a house and $520 for a two-bedroom unit1 ― but of course, costs can be higher in popular suburbs such as Manly, Bondi or Pyrmont. It just means thinking carefully about what you’re looking for in a neighbourhood and what you would like to spend.

It’s worth remembering there will always be competition for good rental properties, so it’s important to act quickly when you find somewhere you like. If possible try and get a rental viewing for mid-week – you’ll find less people there as Saturdays tend to be more popular.

In Australia, landlords generally expect you to sign a lease for one year, but it may also be possible to negotiate a six-month contract. If you need to find somewhere to stay while you look for your ideal rental property, you can often find short term accommodation options online by searching for furnished holiday rentals. There are also rental options for students, either on campus or in shared accommodation.

Rental properties in Australia generally come unfurnished. So if you have found a property and are waiting for furniture to be shipped from your home country, you might want to think about renting furniture until it arrives.

You need to move fast when you find the right place. So bringing copies of all necessary documents with you to a property viewing means you can complete an application on the spot. While the exact requirements can differ from one agency to another, it’s worthwhile having copies of:

  • Photo ID (for example, a driver’s license or passport)
  • Proof of employment and income
  • A letter from your bank to prove you have an Australian account
  • A bank statement that shows your balance
  • A letter of reference from a previous landlord
  • One or two character references.

Fortunately, our International Premier and Retail Banking team are here for guidance. You can open an Australian bank account online up to three months before you travel to Australia, so you can have funds ready and waiting for when you arrive.

Things you should know

1 Domain Rental Report, March Quarter 2016.

The advice on this website has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the advice, please consider its appropriateness to your circumstances. Please view our Financial Services Guide.