The 10 Cheapest Places to Live in Australia
Living in any of Australia’s capital cities is incredibly expensive. In Sydney, for example, house prices have surged past the $1 million mark after six consecutive months of declines. The median house price in the city was $1,021,968 during the second quarter of 2016 and, while it’s below last year’s record-breaking median house price of $1,032,899, it’s still far more than what the average person could afford.
Because of this, it’s advisable to look for a place to live outside capital cities, where rent and house prices are much cheaper but the quality of life is still decent enough for young professionals, growing families, and empty-nesters. We’ve compiled a list of the cheap places to live in Australia to help you choose the best area for yourself and your loved ones. These places are ranked not just by their housing prices but also according to their population, unemployment rate, and access to important services like healthcare and education.
10. Wagga Wagga
Unemployment rate: 3.06%
Average House Price: $358,000
Wagga (as it’s fondly called by the locals) may not be a capital city, but it has made a name for itself due to its military, transport, and agricultural significance. The Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force have bases in Wagga Wagga, and large corporations like Heinz, Fonterra, Cargill, Big W, and Target all have built a presence in the city.
Unemployment rate: 5.90%
Average House Price: $340,000
Ballarat is one of the best places to live if you love history and culture. The area became one of the centres of the Victorian gold rush, and the local architectural styles reflect this affluent era in history. Living in the city will give you access to theatres, museums, and art galleries as well as live musical performances.
Unemployment rate: 8.09%
Average House Price: $325,000
Tamworth has many titles, from the “First City of Lights” (since it was the first area in the country with electricity), the “National Equine Capital of Australia” (due to its numerous equine events), and the “Country Music Capital of Australia”. The retail industry contributes a lot to the local economy, although agriculture also remains important. It’s the perfect city if you want to have access to musical and sporting events the whole year round.
Unemployment rate: 4.42%
Average House Price: $305,000
Toowoomba is a great place to live if you love flowers and gardens. With its annual flower carnival and over a hundred public gardens, you’ll be surrounded with blooms the whole year round. Toowoomba has many cafes, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, and shopping centres, so you won’t really miss out much on city living.
Unemployment rate: 3.3%
Average House Price: $298,000
Dubbo is mainly an agricultural city (one of its largest employers is Fletcher International Exports, which exports lamb products), but it also provides healthcare services to neighbouring towns and is a major shopping centre in the region. The city has several interesting attractions including the Taronga Western Plains Zoo and the Old Dubbo Gaol, so tourism unsurprisingly plays a huge part of the local economy.
Unemployment rate: 6.82%
Average House Price: $275,000
Wodonga is a central delivery point for government services to surrounding areas, and its economy is dominated by a cattle market, logistics providers, and various factories. It’s often paired with the neighbouring city of Albury (although Wodonga technically belongs to Victoria and Albury belongs to NSW), and together they form the urban area of Albury-Wodonga.
Unemployment rate: 8.6%
Average House Price: $252,000
If you’ve always wanted to live near vineyards, you won’t go wrong with choosing Mildura. It’s home to several wine estates including Lindemans, Trentham, and Oak Valley Estate, and it’s the source of around 80 percent of grape production in Victoria. The city has several shopping establishments (including big-box stores and a pedestrian mall), so stocking up on essentials isn’t a problem.
3. Greater Taree
Unemployment rate: 9.73%
Average House Price: $251,000
The Greater Taree City Council has been amalgamated with Great Lakes and Gloucester Shire to form the Mid–Coast Council in May 2016. Still, this doesn’t change the fact that Greater Taree is one of the best and the cheapest place to live in Australia. Its coastal location makes it a fantastic place for avid surfers and beach lovers. Aside from its lovely beaches, the area is home to the oyster farming community, making it ideal for those who are fond of oysters and want to have easy access to these aphrodisiac treats.
2. The Latrobe Valley
Unemployment rate: 4.9%
Average House Price: $247,000
Latrobe isn’t afraid to mix work and play. The local economy is supported by manufacturing, agricultural, engineering, power generation, and information technology industries, while the natural landscape allows for hiking and bushwalking. The Latrobe River, along with various bodies of water like the Hazelwood Pondage, encourage swimming and other water sports.
Unemployment rate: 6.28%
Average House Price: $240,000
Shepparton is the cheapest city in Australia, but it’s definitely not the tackiest! Known as the “Food Bowl of Australia”, it’s the home of many farming and food manufacturing businesses that includes well-known companies like United Dairy, SPC Ardmona, and Campbell’s Soup. Arts and culture are alive in the city, embodied by museums, concerts, plays, and even an art project that involves local artists.
Now that you know the cheapest place to live in Australia, it’s time to research the areas listed above and look for a place that provides good quality of life without drilling a hole in your pocket.