Moving to Brisbane?
Expat Housing in Brisbane
The Greater Brisbane Area
As previously mentioned in our article on moving to Brisbane, the Greater Brisbane Area consists of several municipalities: the City of Brisbane, the City of Ipswich, Logan City, the Moreton Bay Region, and Redland City. All in all, these five local government areas feature about 450 different suburbs. (In Australian English, “suburb” simply means “district” or “neighborhood”, no matter where it is located.)
If you also count the towns of the rather touristy Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, with their waterfront high-rises, resort facilities, casinos, and theme parks, there are even more residential areas to choose from. For this reason, it is difficult — or downright impossible — to recommend selected suburbs that are both popular among and affordable for all expats in the Brisbane metro area.
Choosing a Neighborhood in Brisbane
When it comes to finding a new home in Brisbane, you should consider your personal situation first.
- Where is your office or place of work?
- Do you have a spouse or partner who has also found a job in the Brisbane area?
- Do you feel comfortable with driving abroad, or do you rely on public transport?
- Do you need a kindergarten or school for your kids to attend, and are there any special education requirements to consider (e.g. extra classes for students with English as a second language, or for children with disabilities)?
Once you have gone through all these factors that will influence your housing choice, look on the Wikipedia page List of Brisbane Suburbs for a short overview of history and demographics of specific neighborhoods in Brisbane. For those expats who can afford a realtor, the Real Estate Institute of Queensland is the largest real estate association in the state. Choosing a realtor is probably the easiest and best stress free way to find accommodation in Brisbane. If you are concerned about finding safe neighborhoods, you can always check the crime statistics map of the Queensland Police Department for the areas you have selected.
Finding a Home in Brisbane
After finding which neighborhood(s) you would like to live in while you are in Brisbane, you can begin your housing search. If you’re currently in the city, for example on a business visit or a fact-finding trip, you can simply talk to a real-estate agent in person or browse the classifieds in the Brisbane Courier Mail and the Brisbane Times. From overseas, you can check out their online editions or have a look at the offers on the big Australian real estate websites, (e.g. realestate.com.au or domain.com.au) to see what you can expect in terms of pricing and housing standards.
As far as the general cost of living (which also includes accommodation) is concerned, Brisbane has fortunately become less expensive during the past years. In 2012, Mercer ranked it as the 24th costliest expatriate hotspot worldwide. Luckily, in the recent Mercer’s 2016 Cost of Living Survey, Brisbane is now ranked in 96th place.
Although the cost of living has seemingly declined, the Mercer Cost of Living survey is based on the USD. This means that the depreciation of the Australian dollar against the USD has caused Brisbane to fall down in the rankings. Hence, Brisbane may be more or less expensive depending on the currency used. While Brisbane may have fallen down in the rankings, it is still placed among the top 100 most expensive cities to live in.
Housing in Brisbane: Utilities and Water Supplies
When you have decided upon a future home in Brisbane and are now the lucky new tenant (or owner), there are still the utilities to take care of. The biggest utility providers for the Brisbane metro area are Queensland Urban Utilities (water), Energex (electricity), Origin Energy (gas), and Telstra or Optus for cell phone services, Internet, and pay TV.
Regarding your water consumption, you should also be aware that Brisbane suffered from a severe drought for several years. Ironically, it was the rainstorms and floods of 2010 and 2011 that replenished the local water supplies. Nonetheless, the city government still asks all Brisbanites to avoid consuming more than 150-200 liters of water a day. Your local council will provide you with tips on how to save water and thus protect the environment in Queensland.
We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.